Islam Makhachev defeated Alexander Volkanovski via decision in a closely contested fight at UFC 284. After such a close lightweight title bout, many viewers wondered if an immediate rematch was on the cards. However, the Dagestani recently issued an open callout and seems ready to face anyone for his next fight.
Makhachev faced the toughest test of his career against Volkanovski. Their fight was so closely contested that the Australian retained his No.1 UFC pound-for-pound ranking despite losing to the No. 2-ranked Makhachev.
Soon after the bout, Volkanovski took to Twitter to express his eagerness to face Islam Makhachev in his next fight:
“Just watched the fight, I definitely think I won 2,3 and 5. Surprised I didn’t get my hand raised! Let’s do the rematch, anywhere, anytime!”
While the 31-year-old Dagestan native didn’t rule out the possibility of a rematch against ‘The Great’, he recently tweeted an open callout for any challenger to face him next. He wrote:
“Who is next?”
Although an instant rematch between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski would undoubtedly appeal to fans, there is a high probability that ‘The Great’ will return to featherweight to unify his championship against Yair Rodriguez.
While Makhachev’s tweet hasn’t completely ruled out the possibility of a rematch, he has the option of facing the winner of Beneil Dariush vs. Charles Oliveira, who will compete for the number-one contender spot in May.
Islam Makhachev’s next fight: What did the lightweight champion say about a rematch against Alexander Volkanovski?
Islam Makhachev was able to defeat Alexander Volkanovski via unanimous decision in his first lightweight title defense. While he couldn’t replace the Australian as the pound-for-pound No.1, the Dagestani got his hand raised after their nerve-wracking back-and-forth contest.
With viewers divided over the judges’ scorecards of UFC 284’s headliner, many speculated that an immediate rematch would make the most sense. The two fighters even indicated that they would be open to running it back in their post-fight interviews and social media interactions.
Interestingly, Islam Makhachev discussed his next fight when he spoke to the media in his hometown of Makhachkala, Dagestan.
In an interview uploaded by Red Corner MMA, the 31-year-old grappling savant clarified that he has no particular preference for opponents and is ready to fight anyone, including Volkanovski:
“I’m not going to wait for anybody or call anybody out. I’ll be ready as soon as the UFC gives me an opponent. No matter if it’s the rematch or another lightweight contender.”
Watch the full video below: