"We don’t have someone" - Islam Makhachev laments absence of exciting matchups following Justin Gaethje's loss

UFC Fight Night: Makhachev v Moises
Islam Makhachev. [via Getty Images]

UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev expressed frustration over a lack of opponents in his division after a slew of losses for the top contenders.

Makhachev is scheduled to take on the former interim champ and perennial contender Dustin Poirier at UFC 302 on June 1, 2024, at the Prudential Center in Newark. In a recent interview with TMZSports, he was asked whether he would have preferred a different opponent.

Makhachev responded that his ideal matchup would have been against Justin Gaethje but his loss at the hands of Max Holloway at UFC 300 pushed him further away from a title shot. Similarly, No.2 ranked contender Charles Oliveira lost to Arman Tsarukyan and the latter refused to fight Makhachev on short notice.

Makhachev said:

"[Were you open for somebody else? Did you want to fight somebody else at 302?] Honestly, no. Dustin is a good opponent, because Oliveira and Arman I beat these guys already. My dream fight for this division, I think it's Gaethje but he lose already. But right now, in the position in our weight [class], we just have Dustin because Arman say no, Oliveira lose, Gaethje lose, we don't have someone."

Check out Islam Makhachev's full comments in the interview below (1:30):


Islam Makhachev addresses Arman Tsarukyan refusing title shot at UFC 302

After his victory against Charles Oliveira at UFC 300, Arman Tsarukyan was offered an immediate title shot against Islam Makhachev at UFC 302.

Tsarukyan refused to fight Makhachev with such a short turnaround time citing that it would be an advantage for Makhachev and not ideal circumstances to prepare for a title fight.

Makhachev addressed Tsarukyan's decision to turn him down but did not dismiss a matchup in the future. He assured fans he would take on Tsarukyan in a rematch and silence him for good.

He said:

"I don't know what this guy need. When I beat him, he keep talking about me. But when UFC told him, 'Hey, this your chance, take the fight' he say no, I don't know maybe three times or how many times he say no. I don't know what this guy need but I will give him his chance and after next fight, he will never talk about me again." [2:25 onwards]

Quick Links

App download animated image Get the free App now