Islam Makhachev believes he’s earned his first UFC title shot.
The lightweight division was hit with an unexpected twist the day before UFC 274 where the belt was set to be defended in the main event. Taking to the scale as he’d done 29 fights prior, the champion Charles Oliveira weighed in a half-pound over the championship limit of 155. As a result, he became the first titlist in promotional history to be stripped of their belt via weight miss, thus making his bout with Justin Gaethje an affair that only Gaethje could earn the title in.
Regardless of what the scales read, Oliveira’s performance was unaffected as he needed just over three minutes to finish “The Highlight” with a rear-naked choke submission after some wild exchanges on the feet.
Now riding an 11-fight win streak, Oliveira is still viewed by many as the champion despite the belt no longer being in his position. That is unless you’re Makhachev who is on a hot streak of his right now and could potentially be the next opponent of “Do Bronx’s” for the vacant crown.
“We don’t have a champion,” Makhachev told ESPN. “Charles is a contender. That’s why it’s going to be for the title. I deserve it. I have a 10-fight win streak. [Oliveira] said I don’t deserve this, but he’s asking about Nate Diaz and Conor [McGregor].
“I think Charles is a No. 1 contender now. We don’t have a champion because he don’t make weight. He is not a professional.”
Oliveira has justifiably been met with plenty of criticism for what was the fifth time he’s missed weight in his 42-fight career. This case, however, was a bit trickier due to the title’s involvement, him only missing by a half-pound, and alleged funny business with the scales that will now result in things being overseen going forward.
As the Brazilian continues to shine in more impressive fashions with each victory, the debate further raged on when it comes to how Oliveira would do against Khabib Nurmagomedov and if he has caught up to or even surpassed the 29-0 destroyer as lightweight’s all-time best.
It’s highly unlikely we ever see a return from Nurmagomedov and Makhachev, a protege of “The Eagle’s,” believes there’s no need for it anyway as their eventual encounter will tell us all we need to know.
“This is like an easy fight for Khabib,” Makhachev said. “Khabib have the most dominant grappling from top. He’s going to take him down, hold him there. Very easy. I honestly think this is a very easy fight for Khabib. Stylistically, all of [Oliveira’s] pressure is not going to work against Khabib because Khabib pressures all of his opponents.
“We don’t have to say Khabib is going to beat Charles — I’m going to beat Charles. And everybody is going to understand. Honestly, I believe I can finish this guy, and I really want to finish him in the grappling, in his area. I know I can do this.”
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Ciryl’s got the moves.
Apparently Ciryl Gane participated in some sort of celebrity soccer match and for a heavyweight, he can dribble pretty nimbly. pic.twitter.com/QDoFeqYxto
— Luke Thomas (@lthomasnews) May 16, 2022
Congrats to the Chiesas!
I have so much to say about this weekend, there’s so much to unpack, so many people to thank and so many moments I want to share with the world. Today I’m going to keep it simple with just this.
— Michael Chiesa (@MikeMav22) May 16, 2022
We’ll find out soon enough.
You’ve earned It, sir.
If you ain’t puking, you ain’t trying… or something like that.
“That actually is not good.”
Colby doesn’t have a home in Hollywood post-fighting, that’s for sure.
Two years ago today, I won the fight against Chito. I know he’s not happy with the decision, but remember I wasn’t at my best anyway. I’m interested in doing a rematch, it would be a lot of fun. @chitoveraUFC pic.twitter.com/U3nmWponzk
— Song Yadong (@SongYadongLFG) May 17, 2022
The antenna in Thailand.
Oliveira vs. Makhachev is certainly the closest thing we’ll ever get to “Do Bronx” vs “The Eagle.” But man, I still wish we could have gotten to see it. Oliveira just looks unbeatable right now. Thanks for reading!
Who would win?
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