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Morning Report: Islam Makhachev denies turning down Rafael dos Anjos fight, criticizes UFC 272 main event fighters

UFC Fight Night: Makhachev v Green Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

If his actions haven’t already spoken loud enough, Islam Makhachev wants to make it clear that he’ll go through anyone and everyone to prove that he’s not to be taken lightly.

As the UFC lightweight division’s current “Dagestani Destroyer,” Makhachev has won 10 straight bouts and only tasted defeat on a single occasion. Thus positioning him comfortably in line for the winner of May’s title clash between the champion Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje.

However, one popular Irishman is always a possibility to slide his way into the mix. But Makhachev isn’t worried about “The Notorious” and sees himself capturing and defending the title before a run at 170-pounds.

“They say Conor [McGregor] is maybe going to come back and fight for the title,” Makhachev told ESPN. “When he fought last time in the lightweight division and won was 2016? Five-six years ago. I’m gonna take this belt, defend 35 times, and I’m gonna come to the welterweight division.

“I saw this fight [from UFC 272], I was in first row when [Jorge] Masvidal fought Colby [Covington]. These guys... Honestly, I really believe I can beat these guys one night, both. Colby, he has just wrestling. I can beat him easy in wrestling. His striking is very slow. Other guy, Masvidal, I think he’s so old now he just makes some money, maybe a couple more fights, he’s gonna retire.”

Makhachev’s 10th straight victory out of his overall 22 came in the main event of UFC Vegas 49 two weeks ago opposite Bobby Green. Needing just three minutes and 23 seconds, Makhachev finished Green with strikes on the ground in a bout that was originally supposed to see him square off with Beneil Dariush. The MMA gods would have other plans though as Dariush suffered an ankle injury.

This past weekend, Rafael dos Anjos, a past booked opponent of Makhachev’s, needed a fill-in of his own after Rafael Fiziev tested positive for COVID-19. Makhachev stepped up to the plate revealing his interest on Twitter before negotiations eventually broke down. On The MMA Hour on Monday, dos Anjos claimed that Makhachev requested $1 million for the short-notice meeting.

“I don’t want to talk about this, very small. Nothing big,” Makhachev said of his requests to fill in. “Not million dollars, 100 percent not million dollars.”

“Dana [White] said I turned down this fight but Monday morning when I wake up, I just saw some news like Fiziev had COVID, the fight is canceled and I’d been in California on vacation and I wake up and call my manager,” Makhachev said. “‘Hey, Ali [Abdelaziz]. I saw some news. Please call UFC and say I’m ready for take this fight.’ I asked about some conditions but very small conditions, nothing big that wasn’t possible to do. UFC [didn’t] call me, not Ali call me, I wake up and I call Ali and I tell him talk with UFC please, I want this fight. But UFC not do it. That’s why the fight didn’t happen and that’s it.”

Admitting wanting to help out the fans and a big UFC card, Makhachev now feels he’s being looked at as “the bad guy” in a sense. When it comes to dos Anjos who he has been matched up with on three separate occasions, he now feels even more confident in how the fight would go.

“But now everybody thinks UFC called me and tried to make this fight but I call UFC and I ask about this fight,” Makhachev said. “Anyway, I sit in first row, I watch this fight, dos Anjos is not on my level of fighter and what he can give me. If I beat him, people will still be talking like, ‘This is old man, he’s not from top 5.’ Now Dana says, ‘Islam has to fight vs. Dariush.’ I have no problem fighting him but who has to fight for the title next? I don’t know. [Dustin] Poirier? He lost many times. [Michael] Chandler lost. [Dan] Hooker, Tony Ferguson, everybody — ‘RDA’ has four fights just two wins. [Gregor] Gillespie has fought one time in three years. Who has to fight for the title? I don’t know.”


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Takeaways. MMA Fighting’s Shaun Al-Shatti looks at the beginning of the end of an era following UFC 272.

Old. WWE champion Brock Lesnar closes the door on a return to MMA.


VIDEO STEW

The MMA Hour.

On To the Next One LIVE.

The Chael Sonnen Show.

Side control secrets.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Cyborg and CCC.

Kayla is unimpressed...

But so is Cyborg...

Khamzat at Xtreme Couture.

The beginning.

Elliott is right back at it!

Welcome to JW.

Marina wants her shot, folks.

Classic chaos.

Monday Muay Thai with “The Dominator.”

Chihiro’s big Landmark main event win.

Instant classic.

CCC and Gamebred?

Goodnight!


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Gunnar Nelson (17-5-1) vs. Takashi Sato (14-3); UFC London, Mar. 19


FINAL THOUGHTS

Man, Islam vs. Colby is a pretty fascinating matchup. I kind of hope we get to see it someday now. It’s certainly far more interesting than Usman vs. Canelo...

Thanks for reading!


EXIT POLL

Poll

Is Islam Makhachev talented enough to become a double champ?

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857 votes total Vote Now

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