Islam Makachev Doesn’t Agree With Michael Chandler Getting a Title Shot

Published 03/23/2021, 3:44 PM EDT


UFC lightweight contender Islam Makhachev wasn’t happy with the UFC’s booking for the vacant lightweight belt. Makhachev’s teammate Khabib Nurmagomedov is now officially retired, leaving the 155 lbs throne up for grabs.

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The UFC has booked Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira to fight for the belt as the duo will headline the UFC 262 pay-per-view.

Makhachev feels ‘Do Bronx’ is certainly a worthy title challenger. He has put together an impressive win streak in the lightweight division and a dominating win over Tony Ferguson at UFC 256, sealed his spot as the prime contender for the belt. However, the Russian doesn’t believe Chandler has proved himself enough yet.

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Honestly, I think Oliveira deserves it. He’s got a good win streak. But I don’t agree with Chandler being in there. He has one UFC fight and he hasn’t been tested.

“That first fight ended quickly. I think Gaethje or Dustin Poirier could’ve fought for the title. But the UFC always have their own plans,” said Makhachev.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JANUARY 23: (R-L) Michael Chandler punches Dan Hooker of New Zealand in a lightweight fight during the UFC 257 event inside Etihad Arena on UFC Fight Island on January 23, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Makhachev also suggested that one of the former two interim champions, Dustin Poirier or Justin Gaethje, should have squared off against Oliveira.

Gaethje has not been booked for a fight since his loss to Nurmagomedov at UFC 254. Poirier, on the other hand, is looking to complete his trilogy against Conor McGregor in the summer.

Does Michael Chandler deserve a shot at the lightweight belt already?

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The former Bellator lightweight champion made his debut at UFC 257, knocking out Dan Hooker in what was an impressive outing.

However, many believe one performance doesn’t mean he deserves a shot at the title. As he is not yet battle-tested in the UFC. But one can argue his body of work over the course of his career has earned him the slight concession he got from the UFC.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JANUARY 23: Michael Chandler battles Dan Hooker during the UFC 257 event at UFC Fight Island on January 23, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Also, ‘Iron‘ has certain star power and name value attached to him. The UFC is looking to make the most of that. So, setting up for a title fight on the back of his impressive debut and an even better call-out was the move to make by the promotion.

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Apratim Banerjee

733 articles

Apratim Banerjee is an MMA author for EssentiallySports and has been writing professionally for almost a year. Before his current gig, Apratim worked as a UFC writer for Sportskeeda. A long-time MMA fan, Apratim has developed a critical eye for the sport that has helped him transfer his vast knowledge to his copies and give hardcore and casual readers a detailed insight into the fights and fighters.

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