At UFC 284, Islam Makhachev prevailed over Alexander Volkanovski by decision after a competitive encounter. Several observers questioned whether a quick rematch was planned following such a close lightweight title fight. The Dagestani, though, just made an open request for opponents and appears ready to fight anyone at his upcoming event.
The test Makhachev faced against Volkanovski was the most difficult in his career. Although losing to Makhachev, who was ranked No. 2, their bout was so closely contested that the Australian kept the top spot in the UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings.
After the battle, Volkanovski posted on Twitter that he couldn’t wait to fight Islam Makhachev next:
“I just saw the fight, and I know I got 2, 3, and 5. I’m surprised my hand wasn’t raised! Let’s play the rematch whenever and whenever!”
The 31-year-old Dagestan native didn’t completely rule out the prospect of facing “The Great” again, but he recently posted an open invitation to any opponent to take him on next. He stated:
Although fans would surely be interested in an immediate rematch between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski, it is very likely that “The Great” will move back down to featherweight to fight Yair Rodriguez in order to unify his championship.
The potential of a rematch isn’t entirely eliminated by Makhachev’s tweet, but he does have the option of taking on the victor of the May battle between Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush.
Islam Makhachev’s next fight: What did the lightweight champion say about a rematch against Alexander Volkanovski?
Alexander Volkanovski was defeated by Islam Makhachev in his maiden lightweight title defence by a unanimous vote. The Dagestani raised his hand after their tense back-and-forth match, but he was unable to unseat the Australian as the pound-for-pound No. 1.
The judges’ scores for the main event of UFC 284 divided viewers, leading many to believe that a quick rematch would be the most logical course of action. Even in their post-fight interviews and exchanges on social media, the two competitors said they would be open to going back and doing it again.
Intriguingly, Islam Makhachev spoke to the media in his native Makhachkala, Dagestan, and mentioned his upcoming battle.
The 31-year-old grappling whiz revealed in an interview published by Red Corner MMA that he has no specific preference for opponents and is willing to face Volkanovski:
“I won’t wait for anyone or point anyone out. As soon as the UFC assigns me a challenger, I’ll be prepared. Regardless of whether it is the rematch or a different lightweight contender.”