5 Candidates Against Islam Makhachev at UFC

Islam Makhachev managed to perform brilliantly and defeated Thiago Moises by submission. Here are the potential opponents of Makhachev’s next in the UFC.

The victory over Moises made Makhachev closer to the duels of the top fighters. It also means that Makhachev is getting closer to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s hopes of seeing Makhachev win the UFC in 2022.

Before he can face the UFC belt holder, Makhachev needs at least 1-2 more fights.

Currently, Makhachev has collected eight consecutive wins, only losing to Charles Oliveira who recorded nine consecutive wins in the lightweight class.

Here are the potential opponents that Makhachev might face in the UFC after this:

1. Rafael dos Anjos

Islam Makhachev was originally scheduled to meet Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 254 last year, along with the Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje match. However, Dos Anjos tested positive for COVID-19, so the match was postponed.

A month later, the match was postponed for the second time, this time it was Makhachev’s turn to be the reason for the postponement.

After the cancellation, Makhachev has successfully bagged two wins.

Now Makhachev comes with a better reputation than last year. Dos Anjos, who was curious about the duel against Khabib, was able to vent it with a match against Makhachev.

Dos Anjos himself is still eager to get a title duel and the match against Makhachev could be the way to go.

2. Tony Ferguson

Tony Ferguson is one opponent that Islam Makhachev has been eyeing for a long time. Makhachev has confirmed his determination to complete the cursed duel between Ferguson vs Khabib which never materialized.

Ferguson currently does not have good bargaining power in the UFC following three consecutive defeats to Justin Gaethje, Charles Oliveira, and Beneil Dariush.

Accepting the match against Makhachev was a reasonable choice. Ferguson, who has been known as a fearless fighter, will be enthusiastic about welcoming this duel against Khabib’s students.

Makhachev even mentioned Ferguson’s name as an opponent he wanted to face among the other challengers.

“If they let me choose, let the duel with Tony because we have history with him. Khabib should have fought Tony 5-6 times, so let’s get this over with.”

“I will show the public that Tony is not at Khabib’s level,” Makhachev said.

3. Justin Gaethje

Justin Gaethje is the name of a top fighter who may also be juxtaposed with Makhachev. But Gaethje hasn’t fought in a long time so if Makhachev and Gaethje are paired, it’s likely that a duel will take place in the near future.

Makhachev has named Gaethje as one of the opponents he has wanted to face since his submission win over Drew Dobber.

4. Michael Chandler

Michael Chandler, like Justin Gaethje, also appears as a name that Makhachev might face. Thanks to two consecutive wins via submission, Makhachev’s path to a top-tier duel does look clear.

Chandler, like Gaethje, both rely more often on standing fight duels. For Makhachev, an opponent of that type was an opponent he could easily beat.

“You know why they always hit the whole game? Because they don’t have the ability to wrestle, they can’t grappling. That’s the reason.”

“I can hit, I can wrestle better than anyone in this division. I have better grappling skills. That’s why they will run away,” said Makhachev.

5. Beneil Dariush

Beneil Dariush is one of those lightweight fighters who is on his way to the top. The victory against Tony Ferguson makes Dariush now also going to start getting involved in a top-flight duel in the next match.

UFC boss Dana White wants a Makhachev vs Dariush fight. Dariush is also on the rise because he has won in his last seven matches.

“Beneil is a very good fighter. If the UFC puts me against Beneil, it will be a good duel.”

“He’s tough, stronger than the three fighters I’ve challenged before.”

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