LAS VEGAS – Islam Makhachev intends to take over the light-weight division within the absence of Khabib Nurmagomedov, and it begins at UFC 259.
Makhachev (18-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) returns to competitors Saturday for the primary time since September 2019 when he meets Drew Dober (23-9 MMA, 10-Four UFC) on the primary card of the loaded occasion. The Dagestani fighter has spent a lot of his profession in his teammate and mentor Nurmagomedov’s shadow, however now that “The Eagle” is seemingly retired, it’s a brand new period.
“I feel after this struggle, if I end Drew, the whole lot goes to alter,” Makhachev instructed reporters, together with MMA Junkie, on Wednesday at UFC 259 media day. “It’s going to be a seven-fight win streak and never lots of people have a win streak like this. The subsequent one will possibly be prime 5, prime 10, and I’m going to indicate my abilities.”
Though Makhachev has been out of motion for a very long time, he intends to return with power. Dober has put collectively some good wins of late to place himself for this bout, which was initially scheduled again in 2016 however fell aside on weigh-in day.
Each males have come a great distance since then, however Makhachev nonetheless thinks he has the dominant type within the matchup.
“He’s powerful,” Makhachev stated. “He’s not within the rankings. I feel he’s No. 16. I do know he’s good as a result of I used to be presupposed to struggle with him in 2016. He has good placing, good conditioning, however I feel I’ve greater than him. … Actually I feel that is simple highway. I take him down, management. I feel his wrestling is just not so good.”
If Makhachev will get his hand raised, he would have the second longest lively UFC profitable streak at 155 kilos behind solely Charles Oliveira. He thinks that ought to put him place for a outstanding matchup and stated he likes the concept of combating former UFC champ Rafael dos Anjos, whom he was twice booked towards in 2020 earlier than well being points scratched it.
“Perhaps RDA (is subsequent) as a result of he was presupposed to be my final opponent and we cancel the struggle two instances,” Makhachev stated. “Perhaps who’s free there. Perhaps Tony (Ferguson). Actually, it doesn’t matter. But when it’s any person from prime 5, I will probably be glad.
“I jut want a pair extra fights (for the title shot). That’s it. Now I really feel I’m prepared for everyone as a result of all my life I’m coaching as champion. No person offers me downside from prime 10.”
UFC 259 takes place on the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The primary card streams on ESPN+ pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+.