UFC legend Khabib Nurmagomedov believes Islam Makhachev will defeat Charles Oliveira to become UFC lightweight champion.
Last Saturday night in the main event of UFC 274, Charles Oliveira submitted Justin Gaethje to cement his status as one of the best lightweights of his generation. However, just over 24 hours prior, he failed to make weight and was forced to vacate the belt he’d worked so hard to earn.
Alas, in the eyes of the masses he’s still the king at 155 pounds, which is why the rest of the top 15 continue to call him out.
Right now the official position of the UFC is that ‘Do Bronx’ is the number one contender and will compete for the title in his next outing. The big question, of course, is who will he face?
The popular opinion among fans and pundits is that Islam Makhachev should get the call. The 30-year-old is riding a 10-fight win streak and with stoppage victories in his last four fights, it should come as no surprise that he’s starting to pick up some real momentum.
Islam is often called the ‘next Khabib’ and in a recent Instagram story, Nurmagomedov echoed the view of Makhachev that his close friend would get the job done against Oliveira before it even hits the championship rounds.
“My prediction is a maximum 3 rounds, no matter how good he is Islam is better than him. Just remember these words”
Will it happen?
The biggest obstacle standing between Islam Makhachev and the title shot is UFC president Dana White. In a literal sense the obstacle is actually Beneil Dariush, with White being the one to push the idea that Makhachev needs to get past Beneil before getting to Oliveira.
The fact that he’s continuing to push such a narrative would suggest there are other competitors out there who could get the opportunity ahead of him. Conor McGregor is an obvious choice given that Oliveira actually called him out after UFC 274, but the Irishman has hinted that he doesn’t want to cut back down to lightweight.
There’s also a rematch with Michael Chandler out there but based on recent evidence, he’s more likely to head into battle with Nate Diaz.