Islam Makhachev has been paying attention to the things Charles Oliveira has been saying and Makhachev’s take is that while the former UFC lightweight champion is a good fighter, Makhachev also feels Oliveira fears him and that he’s been making excuses and avoiding a matchup with him.
“Charles is very good, he has a good win streak, he beat a lot of tough opponents, but for me, it’s embarrassing when the UFC lightweight champion asks for someone like Nate Diaz or Conor McGregor, who [last] won like five years ago,” Makhachev said on the DC & RC podcast. “Nobody remembers when these guys win some fights.
“He tried to call [for] Diaz, McGregor, but he forgets my name. And when they ask about me, he says he needs money or something like this. But when he fights with Dustin [Poirier] or Justin Gaethje, he doesn’t think about money. Now when he says he has to fight Islam, he tries to say, ‘I want to fight in Brazil, I want to fight in the end of this year, or I need some money.’”
When asked if he thinks Oliveira is scared of him, Makhachev replied, “Of course. He said Islam has to fight one more time or something like this. But UFC told him, ‘Hey if you do not take this fight, we’re going to give the chance to Michael Chandler.’ That’s why he took this fight.”
“This fight” being the UFC 280 matchup with Makhachev for the vacant UFC lightweight title.
Makhachev seems to have a point. According to Oliveira himself, he did not want to fight Makhachev next and he did not want the fight to take place in Abu Dhabi.
“I didn’t want this fight. Everyone knows it,” Oliveira said in a recent interview. “I wanted the big payment from the other fight. However, everyone knows that I’m a UFC employee. You can’t escape that. So we tried to negotiate from every angle. I tried NY because it was a neutral ground. But the fight was decided there (Abu Dhabi). But to be honest the cage is the same anywhere in the world.”
The UFC stripped Oliveira of the lightweight title when he missed weight for his planned defense against Justin Gaethje at UFC 274. Oliveira won that bout via first-round submission. With the victory, his 11th straight win, Oliveira became the No. 1 ranked fighter in the official UFC lightweight division.
Makhachev is the No. 4 ranked fighter at 155 pounds. He is riding a 10-fight winning streak. Makhachev’s most recent win was a February TKO victory over Bobby Green. Green was a late injury replacement for No. 6 ranked UFC lightweight Beneil Dariush. The two fighters currently ranked between Oliveira and Makhachev are Gaethje and Poirier. Oliveira defeated Poirier in December via third-round submission.
UFC 280 takes place at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi on October 22.
About the author