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Islam Makhachev Opens Up On “Not Fighting High Ranked Lightweights” Criticism Ahead Of UFC 280 Title Shot

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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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Ahead of one of the most anticipated fights of this year, UFC Lightweight star Islam Makhachev once again has been confronted with a fact that is often used to criticize him.

Despite being on a ten fight win streak in the Octagon, which is credited to be the driving force behind Islam Makhachev earning a shot at the 155-pound title at UFC 280 against Charles Oliveira, he has only defeated two fighters from the current top 15 in the division.

Out of the 14 fighters on the list, Makhachev has only beaten 10th ranked Arman Tsarukyan and 14th-ranked Dan Hooker, and critics even claim that he only earned his title shot for being sponsored by Khabib Nurmagomedov.

All these guys from the top, they avoid me for many years: Islam Makhachev

Just days before the Russian lands in Abu Dhabi to take on ‘Do Bronx’ for the lightweight throne, Makhachev opened up on the criticism while speaking to “Shak MMA”, stating that he has been avoided by the top ranked lightweights for years.

“All my professional career, I have one problem. All these guys from the top, they avoid me for many years. But, this is not my mistake, I just fight who they put in front of me, I never choose some opponents and now this problem is gonna finish because now I’m gonna be champion and they’re gonna call me [champion]… All my professional career I have this problem. I call [for a fight against] Chandler, I call Poirier, I call Gaethje, all these guys, but they not give me answer,” said Makhachev.

Currently ranked 4th in the ranking, Makhachev had fights scheduled with 6th ranked Beneil Dariush and 8th ranked Rafael dos Anjos, but they didn’t materialize for different reasons, either on the Russian side or his opponents. Makhachev even claimed that Oliveira also tried to avoid fighting him.

“I always wanted to fight these top guys, but they never answered me. That’s not my problem. For example, when Charles tried to avoid me, he said he needed a new contract, that he wanted to fight in Brazil, a fight for money. Now, I’m close and very excited.”

Makhachev has 22 wins and only one loss on his professional record, against Brazilian Adriano Martins, who knocked out the Russian in the first round at UFC 192. In the UFC, the 31-year-old has 11 wins, against Leo Kuntz, Chris Wade, Nik Lentz, Gleison Tibau, Kajan Johnson, Arman Tsarukyan, Davi Ramos, Drew Dober, Thiago Moisés, Dan Hooker and Bobby Green.

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