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Levan Makashvili on Nik Lentz pulling out of fight: 'I think he's scared'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Nik Lentz fell ill last week before UFC Fight Night 60 weigh-ins and had to pull out of his fight with Levan Makashvili in Broomfield, Colo.

Makashvili, a UFC newcomer, isn't buying the story. He told that he believes Lentz is being dishonest, especially since Lentz posted pictures on social media all week and seemed to be fine.

"I think he's lying," Makashvili said through an interpreter, his coach Tengo Seppy. "I think he's scared. I'm sure he did get sick, but there's tons of people who get sick."

The bout would have been Makashvili's UFC debut and he was angry that he took the fight on short notice, cut the weight quickly and flew all the way to Colorado for nothing.

"If it was me, even if I was gonna die, I would have fought," Makashvili said.

Makashvili (6-1) was a freestyle wrestling champion in his home country of Georgia before coming to the United States two years ago to train. "The Hornet" competes out of Mutant MMA in Long Island, N.Y., under Seppy, who also hails from Georgia. Makashvili, a highly regarded featherweight prospect, was the former Cage Fury Fighting Championship 145-pound titleholder and avenged his only career loss.

Lentz, ranked No. 8 among featherweights in the UFC's official rankings, was a substantial favorite in the fight that never happened. Lentz's nutritionist Mike Dolce told's Ariel Helwani that Lentz had a 101-degree fever and the flu was running through his house previously. But Makashvili thinks he didn't want anything to do with the bout.

"He kind of got scared," Makashvili said. "They probably did some research on me and realized I wouldn't be an easy fight for them. He kind of chickened out."

The fight with Lentz is still the one Makashvili wants. Seppy has had a discussion with UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby about it, but it's still up in the air.

"Get some tender loving care," Makashvili said, as a message to Lentz. "Have your girlfriend hug you. Have your mom make some chicken soup for you and then come back and fight like you should have."

As for how the fight will go, Makashvili is extremely confident.

"This fight will be finished quickly," he said. "I'm speaking the truth here. I'm not like one of those trash talkers. Nik Lentz, he's going to be finished quickly. People don't know who I am yet."

Makashvili said he wants the fight even more now that Lentz pulled out at the 11th hour.

"I see it in my dreams, this fight," Makashvili said. "Yes, I want it like crazy. Like a madman. I want this even more."

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