Undisputed UFC lightweight champion, Islam Makhachev has distanced himself from a potential future rematch with former division titleholder, Charles Oliveira, explaining that he needs to find new challenges rather than fight the Brazilian for a second time.
Makhachev, the current undisputed lightweight champion, cornered fellow lightweight titleholder, Usman Nurmagomedov under the Bellator MMA banner last night – with the latter submitting former UFC champion, Benson Henderson with a first round rear-naked choke to progress in the Bellator Lightweight Grand Prix.
Yet to be booked since headlining UFC 284 last month, Makhachev travelled to enemy territory in Perth, Australia to take on featherweight kingpin, Alexander Volkanovski – defending his lightweight crown in a close, unanimous decision success.
Winning the vacant title back in October of last year in Abu Dhabi, UAE – Makhachev submitted the above-mentioned, Oliveira in the second round with a stunning arm-triangle win, snapping the Brazilian’s division-best undefeated run to boot.
Islam Makhachev distances himself from re-run with Charles Oliveira
However, with Oliveira slated to fight the surging, Beneil Dariush at UFC 288 in May in Newark, New Jersey – Makhachev has claimed that it will take a special performance from the Sao Paulo native to earn a championship re-run.
“Honestly, I don’t know,” Islam Makhachev said during an interview with BT Sport. “I hope Beneil (Dariush) wins because I already beat (Charles) Oliveira and I need some new challenge.”
“Dariush is going to be a good fight because this guy has good skills, striking skills, wrestling skills, and grappling skills,” Islam Makhachev explained. “That’s right, it’s going to be a good fight. But Oliveira – if he wants a rematch, if he shows a good performance, maybe he’s going to be next. I don’t know.”
Winning the vacant lightweight title in 2021 in a knockout win over Michael Chandler, Oliveira would defeat Dustin Poirier to defend his throne, before submitting Justin Gaethje in a non-title bout before his loss to Makhachev.