UFC lightweight champ Islam Makhachev has said that he prefers fresh opponents instead of fighting his vanquished foes in rematches.
Set for a rematch with Oliveira at UFC 294, Makhachev had to change his plans when the Brazilian got hurt and the Dagestani ended up fighting UFC featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski instead.
Come fight night, Makhachev knocked out the Aussie with a vicious head kick in the first round to defend his crown.
Speaking to reporters at an IBA boxing event, Makhachev shared his thoughts on his next UFC lightweight title defense, saying that he wants to face Justin Gaethje.
“To be honest, I’ve already told [UFC] I’m not interested in rematches,” Makhachev said. “Because if you want to [be a champion] in a good way, you have to add new names. There is [Justin] Gaethje, who I would say deserved a fight. I think it would be more interesting to fight him.”
Islam Makhachev says that he is not interested in another rematch next (Tsarukyan or Oliveira) and that he wants to fight Justin Gaethje.— Spinnin Backfist (@SpinninBackfist) December 9, 2023
He mentions UFC 299 in Miami as an option 👀
via YT / Ushatayka pic.twitter.com/muMNBj8W7l
UFC President Dana White plans to set up a rematch for Oliveira as early as possible, but Makhachev’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, says his client doesn’t want to defend his title before March.
In July, BMF champ Justin Gaethje said he wanted a shot at the UFC lightweight title.
Makhachev agreed that Gaethje deserved the title shot and he’s interested in the fight. The Russian even mentioned that he’d like the bout to happen at UFC 299 in Miami.
Charles Oliveira or Justin Gaethje, who should Islam Makhachev fight next?