Makhachev (23-1 MMA, 12-1 UFC) captured the vacant lightweight title when he ran through Charles Oliveira (33-9 MMA, 21-9 UFC) to score a second-round submission win in Saturday’s UFC 280 main event at Etihad Arena. In his corner was his mentor Nurmagomedov, who was elated to pass on the throne to his protege.
UFC featherweight champion Volkanovski weighed in as a backup, and was called out by Makhachev post-fight in the octagon for a showdown. With Volkanovski currently ranked as the UFC’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter, Nurmagomedov wants Makhachev to dethrone him from that spot.
“All life, all life we train together,” Nurmagomedov said during the post-fight interview in the octagon. “22 years we train together, and last couple of years, I told you guys, Islam Makhachev is the best fighter. Not in lightweight, he’s the pound-for-pound No. 1 fighter right now, today. And you know what is interesting? Charles Oliveira is No. 2 pound-for-pound, right? He finished Charles, now it’s our plan: fly all the way to Australia and fight in pound-for-pound king backyard. Volkanovski, let’s do it. We know we’re gonna finish this guy.”
The promotion returns to Perth, Australia on Feb. 11 for UFC 284. After Makhachev called Volkanovski out, Dana White said he’s on board with the idea.