Following his big win at UFC 259, Islam Makhachev has ready to call out a big-time opponent. Immediately in the aftermath of the fight, Makhachev was targeting Tony Ferguson. Ferguson had a history with his mentor Khabib Nurmagomedov so Makhachev felt it was his duty to settle the score. However, without any response from Ferguson, Makhachev set his sights on Rafael dos Anjos.
“Hey @RdosAnjosMMA if you don’t like all this hype around me, let’s finish our business in July,” Makhachev wrote on Twitter.
He had been mentioning dos Anjos’ name prior to his UFC 259 win over Drew Dober and decided to resort back to the former champion. Makhachev showed that he belongs at the top of the lightweight division with his impressive win. Makhachev has been out of the Octagon for a year and a half before this comeback. Now that he is back in action he could be rising up the ranks quickly.
— Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) March 10, 2021
Dos Anjos will entertain the idea of facing the young fight but on one condition. He wants a shot of Makhachev’s mentor and coach, Khabib Nurmagomedov when he wins. In the lead-up to the fight with Dober, a decent about of the attention that was being shed on Makhachev was including Numragomedov. The fact that these two are so close and have similar styles has lead to Makhachev being called “the next Khabib.” If Makhachev can get a win over a top-ranked fighter he could be a serious contender in the division and could lead to him coming out of the shadow of his mentor.
Dos Anjos is back at lightweight after a stint at welterweight. He got back in the win column back in November with a split decision victory over Paul Felder. It has been six years since he won the lightweight title, and since then he has had a choppy time getting back to the top. Currently ranked seventh in the division, a win over Makhachev at number 11 doesn’t really do much, but if he can get the retired Nurmagomedov to agree then it will be worth his while.