Russian UFC star Makhachev vows ‘no doubts’ about title credentials as next opponent named
Islam Makhachev says that there will be no doubt as to the legitimacy of his UFC title credentials after it was announced that he will take on surging 155lbs star Beneil Dariush in a top contender matchup in February.
Makhachev, the man anointed by Khabib Nurmagomedov as his successor in the UFC's lightweight fold, has now won nine straight fights in the shark-tank division - most recently almost tearing Dan Hooker's shoulder from its socket in a high profile showdown last month.
The win intensified calls for the Dagestan native to be fast-tracked into a world title bout but with the belt currently tied up by next month's showdown between champion Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier, Makhachev has been handed another test against another 155lbs fighter in the midst of a career best win streak, Beneil Dariush.
Ohhhh yes. Beneil Dariush (@beneildariush) vs. Islam Makhachev (@MAKHACHEVMMA). Seven fight win streak vs. Nine fight win streak. Five-round main event, UFC Fight Night on Feb. 27, per sources. Big one. pic.twitter.com/xETKmx8l27— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) November 27, 2021
No doubts after this one❗️ https://t.co/oavHVnTHdp— Makhachev Islam (@MAKHACHEVMMA) November 27, 2021
Reacting to the fight announcement, Makhachev tweeted that there will be "no doubts after this one" after the fight, which is scheduled to be a five-round main event on February 27 next.
It is easy to see why Makhachev is of this opinion. Dariush, winner of seven straight, is currently ranked third at 155lbs - one place higher than Makhachev - and has a recent list of victims which includes highly-regarded fighters like Tony Ferguson, Carlos Diego Ferreira, Drakkar Klose and Drew Dober.
The fight announcement will be a satisfying one for Makhachev, a fighter who came up through the same combat upbringing as the legendary, undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov.
He had been keenly pursuing the type of fight which would stand him out from the crowded list of contender in the UFC's lightweight division, having previously called for fights with the likes of Justin Gaethje and former champion Rafael Dos Anjos - the latter of whom recently called Makhachev out and alleged the the Russian fighter refused to become involved in a previous backstage altercation because there was too much security staff protecting him.
There was no security around you man 😀 https://t.co/rHbOIY6uru— Makhachev Islam (@MAKHACHEVMMA) November 27, 2021
How many champions have you fought? How many main events? You only getting the hype because of your brother, Get my name out of your dirty mouth Khabib wanna be. https://t.co/pLWAS01VtC— Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) November 27, 2021
"How many champions have you fought?" Dos Anjos fired at his rival "How many main events? You only getting the hype because of your brother, Get my name out of your dirty mouth Khabib wanna be."
If as Dos Anjos says Makhachev does want to be like Khabib, one suspects that he might well get his chance to emulate his title reign - or at get a shot at the belt at the very least - with a win against the teak-tough Dariush in a few short months' time.