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Islam Makhachev Aiming Top P4P Spot; Wants To Beat Volkanovski In Australia

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Saikat Banerjee
Saikat Banerjee
A wordsmith who indulges in the world of combat sports, Saikat Banerjee is an MMA, boxing, and arm wrestling content writer at The MMA India Show and The Sports Room. Apart from combat sports, he also engages in Indian sports content at The Sports India Show. Currently pursuing an MBA from Jadavpur University, Saikat's other interests lie in motorcycling, working out, and travelling.
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Islam Makhachev has finally achieved his goal of becoming the UFC Lightweight world champion and bringing the 155-pound title back to his motherland. Now, the Dagestani wants to be recognized as one of the greatest fighters of all time, as he targets the number one pound-for-pound spot, currently occupied by Alexander Volkanovski.

I have to go to Australia and beat this guy: Islam Makhachev

In the main event of UFC 280 on Saturday in Abu Dhabi, Makhachev captured the vacant lightweight title and upped his winning streak to 11 with a second-round submission over Charles Oliveira.

The Russian fighter is now the man to beat in what has always been one of MMA’s most competitive divisions, and what he wants next is to fight the reigning featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski for the top P4P spot and wants to take the Aussie on right on his home turf.

“I have a new target. I have to be No. 1 pound-for-pound champion. That’s why I have to go to Australia and beat this guy,” Makhachev said after the fight.

Makhachev and his mentor Khabib Nurmagomedov made this request public after the victory over Oliveira, while Volkanovski was present at the edge of the cage after being named as a substitute for the main event.

It may come as a surprise to some that Makhachev’s team offered to travel to the Land Down Under to face Volkanovski for a potential super fight at UFC 284 on February 12th, but Makhachev explained that they were always ready to go into enemy territory.

“I have a big team. It doesn’t matter, it’s good for us. We can travel to Australia, it’s a good country. We can make some camp there, training there,” Makhachev went on, “Before they announced the fight with Charles, Khabib told me many times if they’re going to give us a title fight in Brazil, we’re going to go to Brazil (one month before that fight). I messaged him when we were talking about this and he said to Dana, ‘Let’s go to Brazil.’ Some people don’t believe, but we can show people the message, what Khabib said to Dana.”

The 31-year-old Russian also confirmed in his interview that he has no plans to retire any time soon.

“I don’t think about retirement right now. I have to be No. 1 pound-for-pound champion. After that moment, we’ll see. We’re going to think about this, but right now I have to defend this belt many times.”

“I have to defend this belt in my division, then we’ll see,” Makhachev concluded by saying his thoughts on making a future jump up in divisions, “For my legacy, it’s a good idea to move to the other weight division.” [H/T MMA Fighting]

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