An ex-UFC champion was challenged to a showdown by a rising UFC star earlier this week. Lightweight contender Islam Makhachev dominated Drew Dober at UFC 259 over the weekend in Las Vegas, but not everyone was super impressed with the 29-year-old Russian’s third-round submission win.
Former UFC lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos was among the most vocal UFC fighters who questioned the hype around Makhachev. Dos Anjos, 36, posted his thoughts on Instagram after seeing comments made by Daniel Cormier during a recent episode of ESPN’s “DC & Helwani” show.
“Did he just beat a top contender?” dos Anjos posted. “…Stop this hype.”
Well, Makhachev must have seen that comment somehow, because he went hard after dos Anjos via social media in reference to the post.
Makhachev posted, “Hey @RdosAnjosMMA if you don’t like all this hype around me, let’s finish our business in July @ufc”.
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Ex-Champ Responds to Challenge
“RDA” eventually responded to his rival’s challenge. The former UFC champ said he would accept the fight so long as it meant he would get to face retired UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov right after that.
Dos Anjos posted, “If your brother @TeamKhabib fight me after I beat you let’s do it.”
Makhachev is one of Nurmagomedov’s training partners. In fact, Nurmagomedov could be seen hopping in the cage to celebrate with Makhachev after the Russian’s latest win at UFC 259.
On top of that, Nurmagomedov has told anyone who would listen to him that he foresees UFC gold in Makhachev’s future.
Nurmagomedov defeated dos Anjos by unanimous decision in 2014, but the American wants another shot.
After his loss to Khabib, “RDA” went on to capture UFC gold at 155 by defeating Jason High, Benson Henderson, Nate Diaz, and Anthony Pettis.
He successfully defended his UFC lightweight championship once against Donald Cerrone before losing it to Eddie Alvarez in 2016.
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Will Fight Be Scheduled for the Third Time?
Meanwhile, dos Anjos and Makhachev were supposed to meet each other in a crossroads fight on two separate occasions already last year.
Their first scheduled fight at UFC 254 in 2020 was canceled after “RDA” tested positive for COVID-19. The rescheduled fight at UFC Vegas 14 about a month later fell through after Makhachev revealed a staph infection.
Since those fights were lost on the schedule, it seemed like both fighters were content to move on, but now they could be back on each other’s radars.
In his last fight, don Anjos defeated Paul Felder by decision in November.
Who Will Makhachev Fight Next?
Makhachev is ranked No. 11 in the lightweight division after beating Dober at UFC 259.
While his dominant victory was applauded by many pundits, some high-profile UFC stars weren’t so sure about what they were seeing.
Most notably, UFC superstars Nate Diaz and Michael Chandler had some choice words to say about their rising rival.
Diaz expressed that Makhachev’s style was “boring as f***”.
Chandler agreed. He said that watching Makhachev fight was similar to taking a sleeping pill.
Chandler posted, “On behalf of the ufc I’d like to apologize for this regularly schedule dagestani doxepin”.
So Makhachev has won seven of his last eight UFC fights, but he’s not yet convinced the rest of the lightweight division that he’s the real deal.
Getting someone as decorated as “RDA” into the Octagon to face him next would go a long way toward proving his naysayers wrong.
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