Islam Makhachev’s first title defense will probably be against Alexander Volkanovski, according to UFC president Dana White.
Makhachev submitted Charles Oliveira yesterday at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi to win the vacant lightweight championship, cementing himself as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. After the fight, he was confronted by Volkanovski, with both fighters agreeing to a champ vs. champ showdown to determine the #1 P4P fighter in the world.
White likes the idea of the matchup and thinks it makes sense considering Volkanovski is just one weight class below Makhachev at featherweight and served as the backup for yesterday’s blockbuster main event.
“It looks like Volkanovski is next,” White told reporters at the UFC 280 post-fight press conference (h/t MMA Junkie). “Volkanovski never ceases to amaze me. Another incredible fight.”
As for Makhachev’s performance, White was blown away by how quickly he disposed of Oliveira after dropping him in the second round.
“Incredible,” White said. “I’ve been saying all week, you have two of the absolute best in the world facing in their prime and facing off. And when I went up in the octagon after, Khabib said, ‘I told you. I told you he’s the best in the world.’
“I mean, to beat Oliveira is one thing, to beat him the way he beat him is another. And as fast as he did it, he looked incredible tonight. The big question tonight was how is he going to deal with the pressure. And he dealt with it just fine.”
UFC 280 also saw Aljamain Sterling defend his bantamweight title with a clubbing TKO win over a compromised T.J. Dillashaw and Sean O’Malley upset Petr Yan in a Fight of the Night that seemed to cause quite a stir online.
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