“This is the fight to make,” Ali Abdelaziz said, referring to Islam Makhachev’s potential next opponent, who might be a fellow championship holder.

Immediately following his victory over Colby Covington at UFC 296 over the past weekend, Islam Makhachev issued a challenge to Leon Edwards to do a battle for the welterweight championship.

Due to the contentious trash talk that Covington had been engaging in, the bout was highly anticipated; yet, the main event of the pay-per-view event did not measure up to the expectations of the fans. The performance of either of the two men did not please Makhachev, who remarked that he would be able to finish both of the fighters if he were to face them simultaneously.

Despite the fact that Makhachev is keen to win a UFC title in a different weight division, his manager, Ali Abdelaziz, has requested that the Dagestani fighter compete against a fighter from the lightweight division instead.

Abdelaziz went on X to make a request that Islam Makhachev fight Justin Gaethje, the current holder of the BMF belt, as the next opponent.

From what he wrote:

Justin Gaethje is competing against MakhachevMMA. This is the war that needs to be fought next.
Continuing, Abdelaziz cautioned Gaethje about the possibility of confronting Makhachev:

“@Justin_Gaethje you will never be the same after you fight him remember that.”
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Islam Makhachev expressed his wish to fight three times in 2024, prior to the beginning of Ramadan, which occurs in March. This desire was expressed several months ago. In spite of this, it is highly improbable that he will be granted his demand because the first three pay-per-view events of the following year already feature main event bouts.

Michael Bisping wants Islam Makhachev to defend his lightweight title before challenging for a second belt

Following the conclusion of UFC 296, Islam Makhachev called out Leon Edwards, which sparked discussions on which champions are qualified to compete for a title in a different category.

Following Conor McGregor’s victory in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the number of champions who have been given a title bout in a different weight category has increased at an exponential rate. Nevertheless, there are many who are of the opinion that a champion need to first clear out their own division before attempting to win another title.

Recently, Michael Bisping expressed his thoughts on Makhachev’s ambition to confront ‘Rocky’ by moving up to the welterweight division’s weight class. It was him who said:

The individual in question, Islam Makhachev, is one in particular who is spewing st. He has stated that “[Edwards vs. Covington] was cp, I would have finished the pair of them.” [He] is the champion of the lightweight division, and he has revealed this information. The next person he will call out is Leon Edwards.
Bisping went on to speak:

We all have the same goal: to win two championships. You will, however, be required to defend yourself against a competitor in the lightweight division. That is the simplest explanation. According to what we know, your most recent two bouts have been against Volkanovski, who holds the title of featherweight champion. It is imperative that you give someone a chance. Whoever it may be, whether it is Charles Oliveira, Justin Gaethje, or anyone else.”

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