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Islam Makhachev next fight: 3 opponent options, including BMF champ Justin Gaethje

Islam Makhachev next fight news should arrive soon, but while his legion of fans waits we look at three likely opponents for the lightweight king and recap his outstanding victory over Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 294.

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Who will Islam Makhachev next fight be against?

The Russian superstar retained his lightweight title in October with a dominant knockout win. While he has obligations as the champion at 155 pounds, his unique status as the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world does open the door to other opportunities.

That is why for his next fight, matchups with Justin Gaethje, Charles Oliveira, or the winner of Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington are likely next.

  • The Highlight: Gaethje is one of the top stars at lightweight that have not yet faced Makhachev. With the champ not interested in a rematch with Oliveira, it would not be shocking if “The Highlight” gets the title shot next.
  • Do Bronx: Oliveira is a deserving challenger and was set to face Makhachev at UFC 294, before incurring a cut during training. Rebooking that bout makes a lot of sense.
  • Welterweight Gold: The champ has claimed he wants to move up to welterweight to fight for that division’s title. Considering he took a dangerous short-notice fight at UFC 294 and has dominated at lightweight, it isn’t impossible that the company grants that wish for his next fight.

Islam Makhachev vs Alexander Volkanovski II recap

While Islam Makhachev was a favorite at UFC 294, few expected him to be the man to hand Alexander Volkanovski his first knockout loss since 2013, and his first inside the fabled UFC Octagon. Now, the Russian has a new legendary moment on his impressive resume.

What happened: The first couple of minutes of Makhachev vs. Volkanovski’s II was a feeling-out process. However, just over three minutes into the fight the champion unleashed a nasty head kick that clipped the featherweight king and set up a stunning TKO loss for the Aussie.

The fallout: Makhachev rose to the top of the UFC by using his outstanding wrestling. However, in his two fights against Volkanovksi, he is now also a dangerous striker and has the skills to finish any opponent on the feet.

The roadmap: Makhachev will likely defend his lightweight title in the second quarter of 2024 before getting a welterweight title shot later in the year — if he is successful. Expect the UFC to announce a matchup against Oliveira or Gaethje very soon.

Also Read: How UFC scoring works – Everything you need to know about how to win inside the Octagon

Islam Makhachev was the heir apparent to UFC legend Khabib Nurmagomedov when it comes to top MMA stars from Dagestan, Russia. However, during his run in the company he has built the type of resume where a debate could be made that he has surpassed the success of his legendary friend.

Not only is Islam Makhachev one of the very best fighters at 155 pounds, but he is among the five best pound-for-pound competitors in the world.

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  • Islam Makhachev record: 25-1 (5 KO, 11 submissions)
  • Islam Makhachev height: 5-foot-10
  • Islam Makhachev weight: The Russian competes in the UFC’s lightweight division, which has a max weight of 156 pounds in non-title fights.
  • Islam Makhachev loss: His lone defeat was by technical knockout to Adriano Martins at UFC 192 in 2015.
  • Along with having won UFC gold, Makhachev also won a Russian Sambo national championship before competing in MMA.

Islam Makhachev net worth

The measure of a fighter’s success is the dollars and cents they stack up from a career in combat sports. Due to landing some big sponsorships in recent years, Islam Makhavhev’s net worth is believed to be around $4.5 million.