UFC president Dana White recently discussed Islam Makhachev’s place in his promotion’s lightweight pecking order following UFC 267.
Makhachev ran through Dan Hooker with little resistance and came away with a first-round stoppage win over the top-10 ranked Kiwi at last Saturday’s UFC 267 event. It was Makhachev’s ninth straight victory inside the Octagon and he moved to 10-1 overall in the promotion. Makhachev has been hyped up as a future UFC lightweight champion for many years, but now that his friend and former champ Khabib Nurmagomedov has retired, he has a clear path to the belt. The only thing is, he might not be next in line.
This weekend at UFC 268, former interim champ Justin Gaethje fights former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler in a hugely-important lightweight bout that opens up the PPV main card. It’s expected that the winner of that fight will take on the victor of UFC 269’s lightweight title bout between Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier. That leaves Makhachev in a tricky position in the 155lbs division.
Speaking to TMZ Sports in an interview following UFC 267 and before UFC 268, White admitted that he’s unsure what to do with Makhachev next. He stopped short of guaranteeing the Russian a title fight and mentioned that Beneil Dariush is one of the few lightweights in the top-five who is without an opponent.
“Islam Makhachev is ranked No. 5 right now. We’ll see where he ends up in the rankings (after UFC 267) This week, Chandler and Gaethje are going to fight. Poirier’s fighting Oliveira for the title. That leaves Beneil Dariush who’s ranked No. 3. I don’t know. I don’t know what we’re going to do with (Makhachev),” White said. “So we’ll see what happens.”
Who do you want to see Dana White book Islam Makhachev to fight next after beating Dan Hooker at UFC 267?
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