Having just claimed the lightweight crown with a scintillating
second-round submission of Charles
in the UFC 280 headliner, Islam
didn’t take long to set his sights on even bigger

“I have to be No. 1 pound-for-pound champion,” Makhachev said at
Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “After that moment we will
see. We’re going to think about this. But right now, I have to
defend this belt many times.”

Makhachev was in peak form against Oliveira, as he landed takedowns
and defended against his opponent’s vaunted submission game in
Round 1 before flooring the Brazilian in Round 2 and closing the
show with an arm-triangle choke. It was an impressive showing,
especially against a champion who entered the bout on an 11-fight
winning streak.

“I’ve been saying all week, you have two of the absolute best in
the world facing in their prime and facing off. And when I went up
in the Octagon after, Khabib [Nurmagomedov] said, ‘I told you. I
told you he’s the best in the world,’” UFC president Dana White

“I mean, to beat Oliveira is one thing, to beat him the way he beat
him is another. And as fast as he did it, he looked incredible
tonight. The big question tonight was how is he going to deal with
the pressure. And he dealt with it just fine.”

Reigning featherweight champion Alexander
was in attendance after serving as the backup
fighter for the main event. He entered the Octagon and faced off
against Makhachev after the fight, presumably setting the stage for
a champion vs. champion matchup down the road.

“It looks like Volkanovski is next,” White said. “Volkanovski never
ceases to amaze me. Another incredible fight.”

That fight, if it does come to fruition, will help Makhachev
achieve his goal of becoming the sport’s pound-for-pound best. And
if he has to go to Volkanovski’s home country to do so, then so be

“I have new target,” Makhachev said. “I have to be No.1
pound-for-pound champion. That’s why I have to go to Australia and
beat this guy. … Volkanovski is tough. He has good skills, good
striking, but he’s small for this division, I think. He wants to
jump to 155. Let’s do this. This weight class is not his

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Makhachev Seeks Volkanovski Fight to Become ‘No. 1 Pound-for-Pound Champion’

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