Makhachev finally made it to the 155-pound division’s mountaintop when he forced Oliveira to tap out in the second round of the UFC 280 main event. However, Makhachev and his longtime mentor Khabib Nurmagomedov made it clear that they’re not about to rest on their laurels.
Makhachev was joined by Nurmagomedov during his post-fight interview with Daniel Cormier – forming a mini-reunion between the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) stablemates.
Asked what he wanted to do next, Makhachev called out featherweight champ and P4P king Volkanovski, who watched cageside at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.
Nurmagomedov also claimed that their plan all along was to defeat Oliveira and head over to Volkanovski’s home turf for a superfight. The former undefeated UFC champion said:
“Last couple of years, I told you guys, Islam Makhachev is the best fighter – not in lightweight – he’s the No.1 pound-for-pound fighter right now, today. And you know what is like interesting? Charles Oliveira is No.2 pound-for-pound, right? He finished Charles. Now it’s our plan [to] fly all the way to Australia and fight in pound-for-pound king’s backyard. Volkanovsksi , let’s do it!”
Watch the video below:
The newly-minted lightweight champ has already started with mind games, referring to the Australian as “the short guy.” Volkanovski promptly entered the cage, setting up a classic face-off between the two champions. Conveniently, a UFC event is scheduled to take place in Australia in February 2023.
Islam Makhachev’s coach dismisses Alexander Volkanovski
American Kickboxing Academy head coach Javier Mendez doesn’t believe that Alexander Volkanovski could pose much of a challenge against Islam Makhachev.
With the UFC featherweight champion eyeing a move up to lightweight, he could end up crossing paths with Makhachev at some point. Mendez, however, thinks his student’s ground game will be too much, even for the consensus P4P king:
“I don’t think he [Alexander Volkanovski] poses as big a threat to Islam as you would think because he’s such a master on the takedown, and Alex isn’t going to be able to stop it no matter what he does,” Mendez said in an interview Submission Radio. “And Islam’s stand up is so damn good that he can stand with him. So, you know, unless Alex’s ground improves tremendously, I don’t see it as a huge threat to Islam.”
Watch the interview below: