Islam Makhachev 2023 Recap: What notable achievements did UFC no.1 P4P earn this year?

Islam Makhachev, the UFC lightweight champion had a stellar 2023 that saw him become the pound-for-pound number one. As the protege of the Khabib Nurmagomedov, Makhachev kept the Dagestani legacy alive in one of the talent-rich divisions in the UFC.

With a 13-fight win streak in the division, Makhachev is tied with Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson for the longest win streak in the UFC’s lightweight division. After a stellar 2023, the reigning lightweight champion and his team will be looking forward to another successful year.

What are Islam Makhachev’s notable achievements in 2023?

Islam Makhachev became the lightweight champion of the UFC at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi in October of 2022. In the main event of the PPV, Makhachev won the vacant lightweight title with a second-round arm-triangle submission victory over Charles Oliveira, who was on an 11-fight win streak in the division. Makhachev’s plans for 2023 began after the victory over the Brazilian as he faced off with the then pound-for-pound king and featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski.

Volkanovski and Makhachev headlined UFC 284 in Perth, Australia, with the lightweight title on the line. In a closely contested fight, Makhachev won via unanimous decision with scorecards of 48-47(x2) and 49-46. ESPN MMA named the fight between Makhachev and Volkanovski at UFC 284, the best fight of 2023 in addition to naming Makhachev as the best Male Fighter of 2023.

Islam Makhachev was scheduled to face Charles ‘Do Bronx’ Oliveira for a rematch at UFC 294. However, Oliveira suffered a nasty cut during the sparring session and was replaced by none other than Volkanovski on 12 days’ notice. Volkanovski was coming off his featherweight title defense at UFC 290 over interim champion Yair Rodriguez at UFC 290.

Makhachev was ranked 3rd and Volkanovski 2nd in the pound-for-pound rankings when the two champions faced off at UFC 294. At UFC 294, Makhachev knocked out Volkanovski with a head kick and follow-up shots in the first round to become the number one ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC, dethroning heavyweight champion Jon Jones. The UFC awarded the knockout over Volkanovski as the best knockout of 2023.

What’s next for Islam Makhachev in 2024?

During the pre-fight press conference and media interviews of UFC 294, Makhachev was vocal about his plans to move up to welterweight to claim a second title. However, post-victory, he has not been as much vocal presumably because his former training partner, Belal Muhammad is vying for a welterweight title shot against Leon Edwards.

Nevertheless, in a recent interview on a Russian talk show, Makhachev talked about his plans for 2023 which involve three fights with the first one being before Ramadan. Noted MMA Journalist Ariel Helwani broke the news that the UFC is planning a lightweight matchup between Makhachev and Oliveira for UFC 297 in January. However, Dana White announced UFC 297, UFC 298, and UFC 299 title fights afterward; none featured Makhachev.

There is no shortage of opponents for Islam Makhchev as there is Justin Gaethje and Arman Tsarukyan in addition to Charles Oliveira and Leon Edwards. Gaethje, who won the BMF title against Dustin Poirier at UFC 291, was awaiting the winner of Oliveira vs Makhchev at UFC 294, before the Brazilian’s nasty injury. However, after UFC 294, Dana White clarified that Oliveira would be facing Makhachev next.

Arman Tsarukyan put a wrench in Dana White’s plan with a quick knockout of lightweight contender Beneil Dariush at UFC Austin. After the victory, Tsarukyan called out Makhachev and vowed to knock him out in the rematch; Tsarukyan lost his UFC debut to Makhachev via unanimous decision in a competitive fight. In response, Islam Makhachev sent a bone-chilling message to Tsarukyan, Gaethje, and Oliveira, claiming to be superior to them.

How many times do you think Islam Makhachev will fight in 2023? Leave your prediction below!


587 articles

A free spirited human being with a passion for combat sports.


Leave a Comment