As the MMA world awaits some official Islam Makhachev next fight news, we offer up three opponent options for the UFC lightweight king’s next title defense, and take a look back at his historic triumph over Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284.
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Who will Islam Makhachev next fight be against?
While the options are not endless for the best 155-pound fighter on the planet, the possibilities are still very lucrative. Following a win that made him the top fighter in our UFC pound-for-pound rankings, the most sensible options for Makhachev next would be scraps against Dustin Poirier, the winner of Justin Gaethje vs. Rafael Fiziev, or a Charles Oliveira rematch.
- Diamond: Poirier is one of the most popular and proven fighters in the lightweight division. Makhachev vs. Poirier makes a lot of sense next not just in division relevancy, but also in box office appeal.
- The Highlight or Atman: Former interim champion Gaethje will battle Fiziev in a matchup of elite strikers and top-10 talents soon. A win for Gaethje could guarantee a third UFC championship opportunity. But an impressive win against the ultra-durable Gaethje could make a Fiziev title opportunity undeniable.
- Do Bronx: Oliveira is one of the best fighters on the planet. While his first fight with the Russian ended in a stunning submission defeat, there are few fighters in the division more deserving of a title opportunity.
Islam Makhachev vs Alexander Volkanovski recap
Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284 turned out to be a highly-competitive back-and-forth battle, despite the Russian being a notable favorite heading into the bout. Beyond just scoring a career-defining win, Makhachev also proved to the world that he is far more than just a one-trick-pony grappler.
What happened: Over five rounds, Volkanovski showed why he is one of the best fighters on Earth by doing what no opponent could do to Makhachev before, and that was to consistently overcome his outstanding grappling and force much of the fight to take place on the feet.
However, despite the assumption that the lightweight champ would be outgunned in a striking battle, he surprised his detractors as he was able to counter and land many clean shots on Volkanovski throughout. Doing enough to score points and show Octagon aggression en route to a successful title defense at UFC 284.
The fallout: If there were any doubters of Makhachev’s elite status, they have all but disappeared. At UFC 284 he proved he is a well-rounded fighter and has various ways to win a fight. He can grind foes to a pulp on the mat, or get into a striking war with the best in the world and win.
The roadmap ahead: Several key matchups in the next few months are likely to decide Makhachev’s second title challenger, in a matchup that will likely happen in the summer.
What makes Islam Makhachev so popular?
Islam Makhachev is the heir apparent to UFC legend Khabib Nurmagomedov when it comes to top MMA stars from Dagestan, Russia. The fact that he is close friends with the former lightweight champ and was trained by his father only adds to his building legacy as the best MMA fighter in the world today from Eastern Europe.
Let’s take a look at some of Islam Makhachev’s key achievements and various stats on one of the best competitors in combat sports.
- Islam Makhachev record: 24-1 (4 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.
- Makhachev is currently on a 12-fight win streak, all in the UFC, and includes wins over Charles Oliveira, Dan Hooker, Thiago Moises, and Bobby Green.
- 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. Islam Makhavhev’s net worth is believed to be around $650,000. However, that is likely to grow significantly in the coming years as a UFC champion.