UFC lightweight contender Islam Makhachev is often criticized because he made it to the top of the UFC rankings without wins over notable contenders. In his last 5 bouts Makhachev defeated Green, Hooker, Ramos, Dober and Moises – most of them barely ranked.
Rafael Dos Anjos was set to clash with Rafael Fiziev at UFC 272. But Fiziev pulled out of the bout only 5 days before it was set to take place. At this point Makhachev entered negotiations with the UFC. Dana White notoriously outed Makhachev for pulling out of the deal.
“Pretty close – I thought we had it done,” White told Barstool Sports of Makhachev vs. dos Anjos. “When I went to bed one of the nights, I thought it was done. Woke up the next morning and found out they turned it down. Islam [turned it down]. No clue [why].”
Dos Anjos was first to call out Makhachev on the pull out. Oddly – he did so in Portuguese by using the following phrase:
“He bluffed… I played and he farted in the farofa.”
Prior to these negotiations Makhachev was a clear contender in White’s eyes but after the fact White said he would rebook Makhachev and Dariush.
Makhachev who was sitting in the front-row of UFC 272 and witnessed RDA’s performance firsthand came to the conclusion that the Brazilian is “not on his level” and he has no plan of fighting him.
While speaking with ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto.
“But anyway, I (sat) in front row, watch this fight, dos Anjos not my level fighter,”
“If I beat him, people still talking like, ‘This is old man. He’s not from top five.’ And that’s it.”
Makhachev was set to meet fellow lightweight contender Beniel Daruish on February 26 in what would have been a number 1 contender fight. However Daruish pulled out of the bout and Bobby Green filled in to face Islam on short notice.
Islam easily defeated Green – after the fact Dana White said he is looking to book him against Daruish again instead of a shot at the title.
Some, including the likes of Joe Rogan believe the UFC is looking to re-arrange the Daruish/Islam bout to pave the way for UFC megastar Conor McGregor to get a title shot on his return. Either way, it would be interesting to see how Makhachev fares against someone with a proven track record.