No. 3-ranked UFC lightweight Islam Makhachev believes he deserves a crack at the 155-pound title, however another top-ranked fighter thinks the contrary.
In a recent interview with The Schmo, No. 5 lightweight Michael Chandler gave his take on Makhachev. Makhachev is currently riding a 10-fight win streak, boasting victories over the likes of Dan Hooker, Thiago Moises and Drew Dober.
Chandler gave credit to the Russian for the stretch, however he doesn’t believe Makhachev has earned a title fight. Makhachev only holds one victory over a top-10 fighter, Hooker.
“It’s a tough one man,” Chandler said via BJPenn.com. “People talk about win streaks, obviously the man is on a win streak. He’s looking extremely dominant.
“We have a common opponent, he beat Dan Hooker in the first round just like I did. So that was the first time that he really stepped into the lightweight division inside the top 10 and staked his claim as one of the guys who will be competing for the title in the future.”
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Makhachev Was Supposed to Fight Dariush, Chandler Thinks That Fight Should Still Happen
Unfortunately for Makhachev, he was supposed to fight No. 4 Beneil Dariush last month, however Dariush pulled out of the fight with an injury. The combatant instead fought fan-favorite Bobby Green at UFC Fight Night 202 on February 26, 2022, and Makhachev won via first-round TKO.
Even though the victory was spectacular, that’s not enough to challenge for gold in Chandler’s eyes. “However, beating Bobby Green shouldn’t get you a title shot,” Chandler continued.
“His win streak has consisted of everybody outside of the top 10 aside from Dan Hooker. So I do think him and Beneil Dariush need to fight. I think it’s a great match-up, their strong suits complement each other very well, they’re both grapplers.
“I think the UFC is the best promotion on the planet, they know what they’re doing, they know how to put together great fights. I think Islam needs to continue to cut his teeth inside the top of the lightweight division.”
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Chandler Is Set to Fight Tony Ferguson on May 4 at UFC 274
“Iron” will look to get back to his winning ways in May when he takes on No. 7-ranked lightweight Tony Ferguson. UFC 274 is set to take place on May 4, 2022, at the Footprint Center in Pheonix, Arizona.
It’s a must-win for both fighters should they want to continue to pursue a UFC belt. Chandler is 0-2 in his last two bouts, suffering a second-round TKO defeat to Charles Oliveira for the vacant 155-pound belt, and most recently, a unanimous decision loss to Justin Gaethje in a 2021 fight-of-the-year candidate.
On the other end, Ferguson has lost his last three fights in a row, losing to Gaethje via fifth-round TKO, Oliveira via unanimous decision and Dariush by unanimous decision.