Islam Makhachev will be receiving his long awaited title shot against former champion Charles Oliveira in October. The two will headline UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi for the vacant UFC lightweight title.
While Oliveira is a fan favorite who was beloved by many fans for his personality inside and outside the octagon, the same cannot be said of Makhachev.
Makhachev, just like many Russian or Dagestani fighters in general, is mostly a quiet and mysterious figure. Makhachev seems to lack Nurmagomedov’s confidence and charisma and his biggest brush with fame to date has been an unflattering cageside footage of him mouth wide open observing Colby Covington’s win over Masvidal.
However, he once had a remarkably out of character octagon entrance accompanied with the music you would never match him with.
This was back in 2018 when Makhachev was booked to face Gleison Tibau – the only man believed to have gotten the better of Nurmagomedov during his UFC tenure.
That time, Makhachev walked out with the Swedish pop group ABBA playing in the background.
With the flashy intro, fortunately, Makhachev got the job done as he knocked Tibau out in the first minute of the bout.
I make a lot of jokes about Makhachev and his father Khabib but Islam's walkout at UFC 220 vs Tibau was legendary. pic.twitter.com/HhF7NDOTzC
— Matthew (@MattyH_12) July 18, 2022
The contest between Makhachev and Oliveira has been highly anticipated by the fans. For months, former champion Nurmagomedov has called for a title shot for his training partner despite lacking wins over top ranked opponents in a stacked division.
Remember when Makhachev smoked Tibau? Good times. pic.twitter.com/KM82BIRej9
— Cerebral Vigilante (@Delisketo) December 26, 2019
Meanwhile, Oliveira just finished three top contenders in the lightweight division in Michael Chandler, Dustin Poirier, and Justin Gaethje in a calendar year. However, before his last bout against Gaethje, he was stripped of his 155 lbs belt for missing weight after some controversy.
Makhachev has a single notable win – against Dan Hooker.
However, despite the difference in resumes, Makhachev is believed by many to be the future champion. Even the odds at betting sites are siding with Makhachev, with the Makhachkala native opening as a favorite over the former champion Oliveira.