UFC star and Khabib teammate Makhachev targets fight with Tony Ferguson

Islam Makhachev

Rising UFC star Islam Makhachev is targeting a future fight with former UFC interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson

Makhachev, 29, improved his pro MMA record to 19-1 following his UFC 259 win over Drew Dober with his sole loss coming almost six years ago. 

The Dagestani wrestler faces Thiago Moises, who is coming off a win over Alexander Hernandez, in his next fight on July 17.

But speaking to ESPN's Brett Okamoto on Wednesday, Makhachev welcomed a future clash with top lightweight contender Ferguson, 37 - who was stopped in his tracks by Justin Gaethje last year after a five-round thriller.     

He said: “I just want to help [Tony Ferguson] retire.

“He lost his last three fights. He has to retire because all these guys from the top 10, all his last three opponents, beat him very bad.

"I think he’s old now. He has to retire, but I can help him.”

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Makhachev, who shares a manager with Khabib Nurmagomedov, also expressed interest in fighting former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos.  

“'RDA' is good for me next, but this guy always ran,” said Makhachev. “Now he says, ‘I want to fight with Conor or Khabib', and last week, Conor slapped him at the weigh-in, and he did nothing.

"This guy always ran. This guy is old. Yeah, I understand him, he want to make money, but I want to help him retire.

However, he didn't seem too keen on a potential clash with Dan Hooker, claiming that 'The Hangman' isn't ranked high enough in the rankings . 

Makhachev continued, explaining that he is looking for a fight higher up in the rankings, saying: “You know, Dan Hooker posted something today, ‘If Islam wins this fight and calls me out, I like it,’ but who is Dan Hooker, you know?

"I need someone who will bring me to call for the belt, but I don’t think Hooker is a big step for me.”

Islam Makhachev submits Drew Dober

The Russian also says that, while he respects 26-year-old Moises, he believes he will have too much for his Sao Paulo-born Brazilian opponent. 

He added: “He has good skills, he’s good everywhere.

"Because my last opponent had a very good striking game and everybody knows about his wrestling, grappling, but this guy has good striking, good grappling.

“I have to finish him, but you know, five rounds, this is my first five rounds.

“If I go with all rounds, maybe it is going to be good for me, too, because this is a big experience. I never fight five rounds.”

Read more: Khabib Nurmagomedov reacts to Conor McGregor's broken leg sustained in Dustin Poirier fight

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