Summer Vacation! Makhachev Shelved Until Fall
UFC’s Lightweight champion had hoped the promotion would book his next fight soon, but now his plans involve a break until the promotion returns to United Arab Emirates.
Islam Makhachev is currently in Las Vegas, Nevada, lookin’ for a fight. Unfortunately for fight fans, it sounds like he’ll have to wait several months before he steps into the cage again.
Makhachev just came off a competitive decision win over Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284 in February. And while the 155-pound champion was hoping to compete again sometime this summer, UFC brass plans to put him in bubble wrap until the promotion makes its annual trip to Abu Dhabi.
Makhachev revealed the timeline in a new interview with John McCarthy and Josh Thomson.
“They all say, Sean Shelby, Hunter [Campbell], Dana [White, they all say ‘We want to give you some time for the rest and we want to see you in Abu Dhabi,’” Makhachev said. “In my mind I think they’re gonna give me June, maybe August, some fight. They say ‘You will come back in Abu Dhabi.’”
UFC does a big event in Abu Dhabi every year in September or October. Makhachev headlined the promotion’s last show there — UFC 280 in Oct. 2022 — slicing through Charles Oliveira to claim the Lightweight title (watch highlights).
While it’s disappointing to hear that the 155-pound belt won’t be defended until fall 2023, Makhachev certainly deserves a break. He fought three times in 12 months, beating Bobby Green, Charles Oliveira and Alexander Volkanovski.
Speaking of Volkanovski, UFC is looking to move him on from his quest for double champ glory. Reports have him defending his Featherweight strap against interim champion, Yair Rodriguez, at UFC 290 during “International Fight Week” in July.
That doesn’t mean Makhachev is giving up on an eventual rematch.
“People are still talking somewhat,” he said about the Volk fight. “Because I always smash my opponent I want to finish him too. And I know I can do this. If he want, maybe a couple of fights, or his next fight and I will win my next fight. If people want, we can do it.”