UFC Lightweight Champion Islam Makhachev recently gave his take on Conor McGregor vs. Michael Chandler.
The Dagestani star is set to make the first defense of his lightweight gold tonight at UFC 284. Opposite him is UFC Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski. Should Makhachev successfully retain, he’ll also get ‘The Great’s No.1 P4P status in the UFC.
Another blockbuster fight expected for this year is the return of Conor McGregor to take on Michael Chandler. Ahead of the fight, the duo will compete as coaches on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter. Chandler is currently ranked No.5 in the lightweight division with a 2-3 record since joining the promotion. He last fought at UFC 281 where he lost to Dustin Poirier.
Conor McGregor, meanwhile, also last fought Dustin Poirier, sustaining a horrific leg injury in the first round of their UFC 264 grudge match. Considering the popularity of both fighters, some have floated a potential title bout for the winner. The clash taking place at 170lbs immediately puts a wrinkle in either man’s potential lightweight ambitions.
“This Is Just A Good For The Fans” – Islam Makhachev On McGregor vs. Chandler
In a recent interaction with ESPN MMA, Makhachev was questioned about the upcoming dream fight between ‘The Notorious’ and ‘Iron’. While the UFC Lightweight Champion was quick to complement the fan appeal of the bout, he was dismissive of it having any title implications.
“Chandler versus Conor. It’s a good fight for MMA fans,” Makhachev said. “But both guys, from me, where I’m at now, we have between us a long way. This is just a good fight for the fans, and that’s it.”
UFC 284 will see Makhachev fight without longtime friend and training partner Khabib Nurmagomedov in his corner. ‘The Eagle’ was a key component in Makhachev’s UFC 280 training camp. Interestingly, it was also Nurmagomedov who called out Alexander Volkanovski for a showdown with the new lightweight champ.
Regardless, ‘The Eagle’ has officially bowed out of MMA completely in order to spend more time with his family. For Makhachev, who dominated Charles Oliveira at UFC 280, this will be a major test to see if he can live up to his friend’s lightweight legacy.