Islam Makhachev is already planning his next move before his lightweight title defense vs Charles Oliveira at UFC 294

Often dubbed ‘the next Khabib’, Islam Makhachev is making headlines with his desire to test his skills against a formidable welterweight contender. Makhachev is scheduled to defend his lightweight belt against Charles Oliveira at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi on 21 October, 2023.

Makhachev last fought at UFC 284 in Australia, successfully defending his title against featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski. The protege of Khabib Nurmagomedov is eyeing his chance to become a double champ in 2024. However, the light champion first has to deal with Charles Oliveira first.

Islam Makhachev set to face Charles Oliveira at UFC 294

Before Makhachev can set his sights on the former interim welterweight champion, he faces a significant challenge in the form of Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira at UFC 294. It is a rematch of the bout at UFC 280 where Makhachev won the vacant lightweight title.

After winning the vacant title at UFC 280, the Russian lightweight successfully defended his title with a unanimous decision victory over Alexander Volkanovski. The bout had significant importance as it was an instance where the number one and number two pound-for-pound fighters fought each other. It was a close fight that garnered praise for both fighters and especially for Volkanovski. The lightweight champion is currently on a 12-fight win streak.

Islam Makhachev
Image via Inside Sports

Charles Oliveira rebounded from the loss to Makhachev with a first-round TKO victory over top contender, Beneil Dariush at UFC 289 in Vancouver upon UFC’s return to Canadian soil. The fight showed improvements in striking defense which was non-existent in his fight with Makhachev. Oliveira is the all-time leader in the UFC for finishes and submissions with 20 and 16 respectively.

Islam Makhachev
Image via MMA Fighting

The BMF champion, Justin Garthej is eagerly looking to face off with the winner of the bout. The “Highlight” after knocking out Dustin Poirier to claim the BMF title at UFC 291 immediately called for a title shot with no intention of fighting any other fan-friendly fights.

Islam Makhachev urges welterweight shot after lightweight defense

Success at UFC 294 is pivotal for Makhachev’s ambitious dream of becoming a champ-champ, a dream that the Russian champion recently shared in an interview on ESPN. Should Makhachev emerge victorious against Oliveira, he has set his sights firmly on the winner of the main event of UFC 295.

UFC 295 is headlined by a welterweight title fight between champion, Leon “Rocky” Edwards and number 2 ranked contender and former interim welterweight champion, Colby “Chaos” Covington. Islam Makhachev is more interested in a showdown with Colby Covington than Leon Edwards citing Covington to be a tougher matchup. This ambitious plan is a testament to Makhachev’s determination to prove his value.

The potential matchup represents a cultural and stylistic clash between fighters hailing from different corners of the world. Makhachev wishes to test his elite Dagestani wrestling with that of Covington’s American wrestling. Covington has already called out Makhachev to be his next defense, but Edwards has not been quite vocal about it.

Covington’s open callout caught the attention of the lightweight champion. It needs to be noted that Islam Makhachev in his interview with ESPN, gave props to Covington for his wrestling prowess and cardio. Looking at the state of the lightweight and welterweight divisions, it is very likely that the potential bout would be in mid or late 2024.

Who do you think wins a fight between Islam Makhachev and Colby Covington? Comment below!


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