Who is the highest rated fighter Islam Makhachev has fought?

Islam Makhachev is set to have his UFC title shot on October 23. The Dagestan born athlete will headline UFC 280 against former lightweight champion Charles Oliveira. However, fans question if Makhachev really deserves the title shot.

Charles Oliveira was stripped off of his lightweight belt after missing weight at UFC 274 back in May. The Brazilian defeated title challenger Justin Gaethje, but will have to get another win to reclaim his belt.

UFC number 4 lightweight contender Islam Makhachev was chosen to be his next opponent. Judging from lightweight top 5 rankings, only Makhachev hasn’t received a title shot. The 30-year-old is also undefeated since joining the UFC and has fought 12 times. However, The biggest drawback of Makhachev is the fact that he’s barely competed against top ranked opponents.

Makhachev’s hardest opponent to date was Dan Hooker which he faced back in October of last year at UFC 267. At the time, Hooker was on the number 9 spot. With Khabib Nurmagomedov’s help, Makhachev managed to set a perfect kimura lock and submitted Hooker. At that time, Dan Hooker was the highest ranked athlete Makhachev had ever fought.

However, if we are talking about the current ranking, the highest ranked athlete he faced would be number 10 contender Arman Tsaruykan. The pair met back in 2019 when they were both are unranked. Makhachev dominated Tsarykyan for three rounds and won via unanimous decision.

Islam Makhachev is certainly in the question for the title shot. The Sambo expert is still yet to beat any athlete at the top of the lightweight division. However, the belt is now vacated and there is no other option.

Islam Makhachev has competed 23 times in his professional career and has only loss once in 2015. Since then, he kept winning and currently on a 10 win streak. His last octagon appearance was in February when he faced unranked Bobby Green who stepped in on short notice.