Kevin Holland has no doubt that ‘scary guy’ Islam Makhachev could become UFC welterweight champion

JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Kevin Holland believes Islam Makhachev would become UFC welterweight champion if he moved up a division.

Makhachev (25-1 MMA, 14-1 UFC) defends his lightweight title against Dustin Poirier (30-8 MMA, 22-7 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC 302 (pay-per-view/ESPN2/ESPN+) main event at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Makhachev has reiterated his desire to chase dual-champion status, and Holland rates his chances very highly.

“Champ, champ, champ for sure, for sure,” Holland told reporters, including MMA Junkie at Wednesday’s UFC 302 media day. “I think Khabib (Nurmagomedov) could have done the same f*cking thing if he wanted to. So, yeah, for sure, for sure.

“I think Islam’s probably a little bit scarier to deal with. He knocked out Volk, and I don’t think Volk’s an easy person to put away, even though he just lost the last two being put away. I think a lot of that came from the Islam head kick. Yeah, scary, scary guy right there.”

Holland (25-11 MMA, 12-8 UFC), who takes on Michal Oleksiejczuk (19-7 MMA, 7-5 UFC) in a middleweight bout on the main card of UFC 302, doesn’t see Makhachev struggling with size at welterweight.

“I think the way those guys grapple over there, I don’t think it would matter if you are a heavyweight,” Holland said. “When they decide to get you down, they’re going to get you down. They are persistent, they work hard, and they’re really, really good at what they do. And I really suck at wrestling, so I wouldn’t want no problems with that guy. I know how to pick my fights. My momma taught me well.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 302.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie