Next month at UFC 280, Islam Makhachev will attempt to finally reach the top of the mountain when he battles Charles Oliveira for the UFC lightweight championship. While Oliveira isn’t technically the champion, he’s widely considered to be the best 155-pounder on the planet – and that’s been the case ever since he beat Michael Chandler to capture the belt.
A lot of people have a lot of different opinions regarding how the fight is going to go down and even though Makhachev seemingly has the superior ground game, counting out ‘Do Bronx’ has proven to be something of a mistake throughout his incredible 11-fight win streak.
Their Abu Dhabi showdown is arguably one of the most anticipated fights of the year thus far and it even has other fighters heavily invested, including Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Everyone knows that ‘The Eagle’ is a close friend and training partner of Islam Makhachev, and as such, he’s always going to stand by his guy.
However, it’s been quite surprising to see some of his remarks ever since the fight was announced, which includes this random nugget on Twitter earlier this week.
“I just think Charles Oliveira will not show up in Abu Dhabi and the UFC will replace Charles with Beneil Dariush. Regardless of who the opponent will be, @MAKHACHEVMMA is on his way to becoming the best in the world #ufc280”
As many fans know, Oliveira was stripped of the title before his fight with Justin Gaethje after missing weight. Beneil Dariush, meanwhile, is set to fight Mateusz Gamrot on the same UFC 280 card.
Would he actually come back?
It’s been two years since Khabib Nurmagomedov hung up his gloves and walked away from the sport of mixed martial arts and up to this point, he’s shown no signs of wanting to come back.
With that being said, next month’s collision between Oliveira and Makhachev could end up giving him the itch if the Brazilian finishes his close friend and proceeds to call the former champ out in his post-fight interview.
There are plenty of ifs, buts and maybes involved in that equation which is why it’s so unlikely, but in equal measure, hardcore MMA followers should always allow themselves to believe, even if it winds up being a pointless exercise for us all.