Islam Makhachev faces Dan Hooker this Saturday, October 30 in a 155-pound bout at Etihad Arena on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi.
As he continues to climb the divisional rankings, Makhachev continues to make a name for himself in the world of MMA, and Khabib claims that should he win on Saturday, the Eagle's protege should earn a title shot.
Khabib told Daniel Cormier & Ryan Clark on ESPN: “My opinion, this fight has to be for him – not for his opponent – for him to be a contender.
“Because after this fight he is going to become nine win-streaks in UFC. Who has this? Only champions.
“Only Charles Oliveira have better win streak than Islam. If Islam going to finish this guy very easily at the beginning of fight, Islam have to fight for the title. This is my opinion.”
Ahead of Makhachev’s fight with Hooker, Khabib is firm that the 30-year-old is coming into it as one of the top 10 best active fighters on the planet.
“Islam is the real deal. He’s one of the best in the world. I believe he’s top-10 in pound-for-pound right now.
“And after this fight we have to call out the champion. … Early next year he has to fight for the title against the winner of Dustin Poirier and Charles Oliveira.”
Following his retirement in October 2020, Charles Oliveira claimed the vacant lightweight title after beating Michael Chandler at UFC 262.
The Brazilian is now set for a mouthwatering bout with Dustin Poirier in the UFC 269 main event on December 11.