Islam Makhachev Uninterested in Max Holloway Matchup Unless He Wins Next Fight

UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev is open to fighting Max Holloway in the future, but currently has other contenders in his division to face, including a headline fight against Dustin Poirier at UFC 302.

Islam Makhachev? Yeah, he’s got his eyes on Max Holloway. But not right now, not yet.

He’s the reigning UFC lightweight champ, all set to headline UFC 302 on June 1. His opponent? Dustin Poirier. Holloway, on the other hand, just knocked Justin Gaethje out cold at UFC 300. Impressive, right? But Makhachev isn’t looking at Holloway, the new BMF titleholder, just yet.

Makhachev’s take on this? He told the New York Post, “If he beats a couple more guys in my division, we can fight.” But he’s not ready to give Holloway a shot right now. He’s got other contenders to deal with. First, it’s Dustin. Then, it’s Arman Tsarukyan. He’s got his hands full in his division, just like Holloway.

And if Holloway wins his next fight? If he beats Ilia Topuria, and Makhachev finishes his next two fights? Maybe then. Just maybe.

Makhachev’s journey to the title? It’s been a wild ride. He clinched the title by stopping Charles Oliveira at UFC 280 in October 2022. Then, he defended it twice against Alexander Volkanovski, the then featherweight champ. First, he won a decision at UFC 284, which was MMA Fighting’s 2023 Fight of the Year. Then, eight months later, he delivered a thunderous head kick knockout at UFC 294.

After going toe-to-toe with Volkanovski twice, Makhachev thinks it’s only fair he gets his shot at champ-champ status. But before that, he wants to face another former featherweight champ for his title.

His dream fight? “I have to fight for the next division, 170,” Makhachev said. His dream opponent? Leon Edwards.

He’s already given some chances to the 145 division. Now, he wants his shot at the second belt.


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