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Morning Report: Islam Makhachev is not interested in fighting Max Holloway: “I need opponents from my division”


Islam Makhachev has big plans and goals in his career.

Fighters don't get much better than the current UFC lightweight champion, and he's considered the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet for good reason. Makhachev, 32, is on the cusp of an all-time draw if he can successfully secure a record third title defense by defeating Dustin Poirier at UFC 302 next month.

The path to the upcoming fight has been unique for the nearly flawless 25-1 champion. Poirier became the “most accessible” option for Makhachev after all the other top contenders fought at UFC 300 last month. Arman Tsarukyan was approached immediately after his split decision win over Charles Oliveira, which opened the door for Poirier. His American Top Team (ATT) teammate abandoned the relatively quick turnaround and he was the next man up.

UFC 300's biggest winner, former featherweight champion Max Holloway, could also be a logical opponent for Makhachev after knocking out perennial 155-pound elite Justin Gaethje for the BMF crown. However, after his first two defenses outclassed previous 145-pound king Alexander Volkanovski, Makhachev believes it's best to stick with predominantly lightweight fighters.

“To be honest, Max has a job in his division,” Makhachev said on Good Guy/Bad Guy. “I don’t want to give Max a chance because people are still talking about me not defending my belt against the lightweight guys. I need real opponents from my division.

“I want to clear my division and fight for the welterweight (title).”

Fortunately for Makhachev and any worries having To fight Holloway, “Blessed” has plenty of options and he has his sights set on his old title at 145 pounds regardless. If Holloway fights for the undisputed lightweight crown, he will try to become a two-division champion, which is how Makhachev sees it.

Volkanovski's bids against Makhachev were a chance to win two titles at the same time. Makhachev intends to do the same sooner or later, and he had the opportunity, reportedly offering his dream fight with welterweight champion Leon Edwards at UFC 300. It didn't work out, and Poirier and Tsarukyan were waiting for Makhachev. In the latter, the champion hopes to rematch at Madison Square Garden later this year before moving up in weight.

“Dude, who's next?” – said Makhachev. “Now we have Poirier. After I beat Poirier and after Armand, I don't know. I don't have a job in my department. I need a second belt. I think I deserve it. My dream is to become a two-time champion.”

Makhachev's fight against Tsarukyan in 2024 will be a rematch of their April 2019 fight, in which Makhachev defeated his opponent by unanimous decision. The 27-year-old Tsarukyan performed impressively after this fight, which quickly gave him the opportunity to make his debut in the promotion.

Makhachev would ultimately get a rematch in one of his next two fights, having already defeated Tsarukyan's UFC 300 opponent, Oliveira, to win the title in October 2022.

“I don’t like rematches because I’ve already beaten Volkanovski twice,” Makhachev said. “I need new names.

“In a rematch, you don’t have that same motivation. You have several new names. He'll be good on the list when I beat Poirier.”

Before any of these big plans or battles can come to fruition, Poirier gets in Makhachev's way, intending to play spoiler. The title fight will be “The Diamond”’s third chance to capture the undisputed lightweight title. A late win over the aforementioned Holloway set Poirier up for a September 2019 showdown with Makhachev's longtime teammate and mentor Khabib Nurmagomedov. Poirier lost the fight via rear naked choke in the third round and challenged for the title again two years later, losing to Oliveira in the same manner.

Makhachev was somewhat dismissive of Poirier in the lead-up to the fight. He saw this message from the community and wants to make it clear that he takes everything the veteran has to offer very seriously.

Well, almost everything.

“Honestly, some people think I underestimate him, but this guy is so tough,” Makhachev said. “He is a dangerous legend. He has experience and is the most dangerous player in attack. This guy has a very good guillotine, that's why I train so hard (laughs).

“You see, I respect him, but okay, I don’t respect his guillotine. Because I've never seen him finish anyone off with a guillotine. Maybe one day, but it won’t be me.”


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Between links.

Derrick Lewis media day at UFC St. Louis.

The Best of Menifield.

Epilogue PFL.

Alex is Rio.

Unusual chin control.


Head over to Twitter, use the hashtag #MorningReport or find one of my tweets with it and let me know what you're loving right now. I will select the best from my daily selection and salute you! You can also share in the comments below – sometimes they're harder to figure out!


John…

And Ian…

Holloway.

Robelis.

Understood.

Oh.


Roman Dolidze (12-3) vs. Michelle Pereira (31-11, 2 NK); UFC Louisville, June 8

Claire Lopez (8-6) vs. Kayla Gracho (6-4); Combate Global, June 22

Haider Emil (9-0) vs. Jung Young Lee (11-1); UFC Vegas 94, July 20


The idea of ​​Islam is correct. At the same time, Holloway convincingly beat his main rival.

Happy Friday everyone. Good weekend. Thanks for reading!


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