If Islam Makhachev retains the UFC lightweight championship belt in a rematch with Charles Oliveira, his next opponent will be Justin Gaethje, ranked number two in the division’s rankings.
This was announced in an interview with The Schmo by Ali Abdelaziz, the famous manager of the Russian and the American.
“If Islam wins, he will fight Justin Gaethje,” Abdelaziz stated. “That’s what we want and what the UFC wants. Justin Gaethje deserves it. You can’t go out and knockout Dustin Puryear and not get a title shot. Justin made a statement and he deserves a title fight.”
Abdelaziz also made it clear that he believes Makhachev’s third place in the UFC’s P4P rankings is unfair.
“Islam is the best lightweight in the world, no doubt about it. There’s no question about it. I think he’s the best fighter in the world right now regardless of weight class.”
That said, the Russian said in a recent interview that after his fight with the Brazilian, he expects to challenge the winner of the welterweight title match between Leon Edwards and Colby Covington to headline UFC 296 in Las Vegas on Dec. 16. Covington responded by making it clear that he doesn’t believe Makhachev, suggesting that Abdelaziz won’t allow the fight to happen.
As a reminder, the title fight between Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira will be the main event of UFC 294, which takes place on October 21 in Abu Dhabi.