Islam Makhachev is the best fighter in the world, but he still hasn’t proven it yet. At least, that’s what his coach believes.
Following his win over Charles Oliveira at UFC 280 to claim the lightweight title, Makhachev skyrocketed up the UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings, claiming the No. 2 spot. It was an enormous jump for a fighter with only a few ranked wins to his name, and zero title defenses, and that’s why his coach, Javier Mendez, believes his ranking is a little premature.
“Look, you know this just as much as I do, Islam went to No. 2 spot pound-for-pound in the UFC in just one fight? How?,” Mendez told MMAJunkie. “I know he’s good, and I believe he’s No. 1. I do believe that. But to give him that spot of No. 2 pound-for-pound in just one fight, no. I know in my heart with time he’ll be No. 1. Simple as that. He’s going to be No. 1. But they gave him this just because of one fight.
“No, I don’t like that. It was done too quickly.”
Makhachev’s meteoric rise up the pound-for-pound rankings can be attributed to a couple of factors, the first being his outstanding resume. Makhachev is 23-1 in his MMA career, 12-1 in the UFC, and unbeaten since 2016, his second fight in the promotion. That’s why, after his win over Oliveira he shot to No. 3 in the rankings. Then, when Israel Adesanya lost his middleweight title to Alex Pereira, Adesanya dropped and Makhachev ascended to the No. 2 spot. It also probably didn’t hurt that Makhachev is the protege of former No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter and all-time great Khabib Nurmagomedov, or that he’s set to defend his title against featherweight champion and top pound-for-pound fighter Alexander Volkanovski. But until he actually goes out there and proves his own greatness by defeating Volkanovski and the next lightweight title challenger afterwards, Mendez maintains that his student doesn’t deserve such a lofty ranking.
“He’s the man, but he needs to do more,” Mendez said. “That’s what I believe. He needs to beat Volkanovski, then Dariush. He needs to beat those guys, so you can say he’s No. 1.
“Look at what Volkanovski is doing. He mopped the floor with all the challengers that are in his weight class. Everyone. He cleared them all out. Islam needs to clear everyone out. Again, I feel he’s No. 1, but in order to get that you need to finish everyone, that’s how it works. That’s how I think.”
Makhachev puts his lightweight title on the line against Volkanovski on Feb. 12 at UFC 284 in Perth, Australia.
Results. Larissa Pacheco shocks the world with stunning upset to beat Kayla Harrison in PFL Championship main event.
Loss. Kayla Harrison on first MMA loss: ‘I lost in front of the whole world, and it hurts. It’s going to hurt for awhile.’
Petty. Cris Cyborg reacts to Kayla Harrison losing at PFL Championship card: Larissa Pacheco ‘saved the PFL $3 million.’
Mad. Conor McGregor responds to Anthony Smith’s USADA criticism: ‘The audacity of this loser.’
Poop. Paddy Pimblett’s dog has an accident in neighbor’s yard, leads to hilarious interaction on camera.
Power. Darren Till compares Alex Pereira’s power to the late Anthony Johnson following UFC 281 title win.
Reaction to the PFL World Championships.
Israel Adesanya on Hot Ones.
Stephen Thompson fight camp.
Paddy Pimblett UFC 282 preparation.
Alexander Volkanovski’s fight camp.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov posted a video of former UFC champs Kamaru Usman, Justin Gaethje and Henry Cejudo firing grenade launchers and assault rifles at a special forces facility in Chechnya—a facility that trains Russian soldiers for the country's invasion of Ukraine pic.twitter.com/BxioliBXp4— Karim Zidan (@ZidanSports) November 27, 2022
Flex on ‘em.
I’d happily put the mill up but can you match it ? https://t.co/mIcaXSLmWk— Brendan Loughnane (@BrendanMMA) November 28, 2022
You earned the belt and however we know you want to show the world you are really the best. FIGHT ME AND PROVE IT. I’ll put up all 4 of my UFC FOTN BONUSES $200k!!! I beat #1 145lbs Yair Rodriguez in one of the bonuses Vs Lets scrap and show the world if you are elite.— Charles Rosa (@CharlesRosaMMA) November 28, 2022
Grateful.— Jiri BJP Prochazka (@jiri_bjp) November 27, 2022
There are no obstacles, just an opportunity to see the same path from a different angle and be Stronger and more human.
Once you accept the path of the Warrior or simply be absolutely honest to yourself, then you know deep inside what is false and what is true, where
your Path is. Title? I became the UFC Champion 5 months ago and the current situation does not change my inner feeling of being a Champion, that is the Feeling and the Reason why I started MMA. To Be the Champion of the Best and to be the best of the best. ///\\\— Jiri BJP Prochazka (@jiri_bjp) November 27, 2022
This is my Infinite Motivation and Spirit-Consciousness and Will to ACT. I can't move it even if I force it, It's like Gravity, a law of physics.— Jiri BJP Prochazka (@jiri_bjp) November 27, 2022
So if someone wins the LHW UFC title and proves they are the best NOW while I rest, I will be honored to see that performance and then
get ready to show who is the Rightful Champion of this division and MUCH more 1P4P.— Jiri BJP Prochazka (@jiri_bjp) November 27, 2022
I Thank my fans for their support and trust.
This is the Beginning, of something Greater.
I love you. ///\\\#Bushido #Kaisen#Strongest#Unstoppable
Aljamain Sterling really chasing Henry Cejudo.
The biggest fraud to ever win a UFC title Own who you are. Don’t be a scumbag! https://t.co/xMIfJTfYDP— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) November 28, 2022
Belal Muhammad making an effort.
☝️☝️ pic.twitter.com/QfouZKDdCY— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) November 26, 2022
I called him out in 2019. He called me out a couple of months ago. This fight makes the most sense. #2 vs. #5 . Let's go @ufc .. Let's make this happen pic.twitter.com/5w8kvOyd04— Merab “The Machine” Dvalishvili (@MerabDvalishvil) November 27, 2022
Matt Brown’s future.
Outside of actual war is there a more intense process than waiting backstage and putting on 4 oz gloves? I’ve learned a lot along this ride and I know I only have so many of these moments left in me…— Matt Brown (@IamTheImmortal) November 28, 2022
With that said I’m starting to put a lot more time and energy in to teaching and building online instructionals and education. So far I have filmed 3 instructionals with @jabs_with_jamie for @dynamicstriking 2 instructionals on clinching and 1 on partner drilling…— Matt Brown (@IamTheImmortal) November 28, 2022
I plan to start an online video library and YouTube channel teaching everything I know about martial arts, fitness, strength training, fighting, etc. Writing an ebook and starting a podcast with @coachmyers_gutcheck and teaching a few times a week at @immortalmartialarts— Matt Brown (@IamTheImmortal) November 28, 2022
This will be my next venture in life but I’m putting a lot of energy in to it now as I’m trying to heal up to fight again so… Point is keep on the look out for everything I’ve learned in my life it will be coming at you soon!— Matt Brown (@IamTheImmortal) November 28, 2022
Ovince Saint Preux (26-16) vs. Antonio Trocoli (12-3, 1 NC); UFC 282, Dec. 10.
Manel Kape (17-6) vs. David Dvorak (20-4); UFC Vegas 66, Dec. 17.
Alex Caceres (14-11, 1 NC) vs. Julian Erosa (28-9); UFC Vegas 66, Dec. 17.
Gadzi Rabadanov (18-4-2) vs. Koji Takeda (15-3); Bellator vs. RIZIN, Dec. 31.
Joe Solecki (12-3) vs. Benoit Saint Denis (10-1); UFC Fight Night, Feb. 18.
Nikita Krylov (29-9) vs. Ryan Spann (21-7); UFC Fight Night, Feb. 25.
Just for reference, Volkanovski hasn’t cleared out his division. He’s beaten three men in the top-15, same as Makhachev. He just beat one of those guys three times. That’s not clearing out a division whatsoever.
Anyway, hope y’all had a great weekend and thanks for reading!
Does Islam Makhachev deserve to be the No. 2 ranked P4P fighter in the UFC?
This poll is closed
No, he should be lower.
No, he should be No. 1.
If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @DrakeRiggs_ on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.