Islam Makhachev thinks the UFC’s lightweight division is in dire need of fresh contenders.
Makhachev (21-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) notched a quick submission of Dan Hooker this past Saturday at UFC 267 in what was meant to be his toughest fight to date on paper. He passed the test with flying colors and is ready to leapfrog the winner of this Saturday’s UFC 268 bout between former title challengers Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler.
“Justin Gaethje or Chandler, everybody is tired about these guys because they’re old, they already fought for the title,” Makhachev told UFC Arabia post-fight. “We need to change something.”
Following the fight, Makhachev had a message for Dana White, urging the UFC president to consider him in the running for a title shot.
“I told him I want to wake up this division,” Makhachev said. “We have to work and he said ‘Let me go back, and I’m gonna tell you.”
The rather reserved Makhachev isn’t too fond of trash talking, but his teammates Khabib Nurmagomedov and Daniel Cormier advised him to be more vocal, which he was, but only after the fight.
“They told me ‘Hey, you have to do some trash talk,’ but I’m not a bad guy who’s fake trash talk,” Makhachev said. “If I don’t like somebody, I don’t like. I respect this guy (Hooker) because he took this fight one month ago, came from Las Vegas one month after he won, that’s why I have nothing for this guy, but this MMA.”
He continued, “I told DC, now it’s time to talk. I’m very happy, this is a very good performance because I finished my opponent very early, I don’t have injuries, nothing, I’m very happy.”
Currently riding a nine-fight winning streak, Makhachev has dominated almost all his opposition and was happy to continue proving that his ground game is levels above everybody else by submitting Hooker.
“I knew if I take him down, I’m gonna make trouble for him or I’m gonna punch him very hard on the ground or I’m gonna submit him because this guy is very good,” Hooker said. “I said before, this guy has high-level striking, but nobody knows about his grappling game.”
Islam Makhachev def. Dan Hooker at UFC 267: Best photos
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Twitter reacts to Islam Makhachev’s submission of Dan Hooker at UFC 267 – and Conor McGregor chimed in