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Morning Report: Daniel Cormier says Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski have ‘work to do’ before an immediate rematch

Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski
Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski
Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images

Daniel Cormier thinks the UFC should not pursue an immediate rematch between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski.

In their superfight at UFC 284, Makhachev and Volkanovski had one of the best fights of the year, with Makhachev winning a competitive unanimous decision over Volkanovski to retain his lightweight title. Almost immediately afterwards, Volkanovski began calling for a rematch, even posting a video to his YouTube channel showing Makhachev agreeing to run it back sometime. And the featherweight champion still seems set on pursuing the rematch, posting yet another callout to his social media on Wednesday.

But despite all of Volkanovski’s efforts, UFC commentator, and Makahchev’s teammate, Daniel Cormier thinks it’s too soon to run things back for the top two pound-for-pound fighters in the world, because they both have divisions to tend to.

“Islam’s got work to do in his own weight class and so does Alexander Volkanovski,” Cormier said on ESPN. “Volkanovski owes it to Yair Rodriguez to go and give him an opportunity to try to become the undisputed champion of the world. And I don’t know if it’s fair to Beneil Dariush if he beats Charles Oliveira to not get his chance to fight for the lightweight championship of the world.

“This is the danger in superfights: You get a close superfight, [and] people are clamoring to see it again. When, in reality, we have two divisions that need the champions back in order to give us a little clarity.”

Lightweight and featherweight are two of the UFC’s deepest divisions, with no shortage of other contenders vying for an opportunity to fight for the title, including newly crowned interim featherweight champion, Yair Rodriguez. But Volkanovski previously made his position on this clear, telling Ariel Helwani that Rodriguez can hold onto the interim belt for now, while he continues to pursue lightweight endeavors.

“He can hold that flag until I’m there...” Volkanovski said. “There’s no reason why this has to happen right now, especially when that’s not how interim works. Otherwise I would have just made them fight for No. 1 contender.”


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