Rafael dos Anjos does not believe Islam Makhachev deserves a title fight, ready to face him at UFC 272


This past weekend, Islam Makhachev took on Bobby Green in the main event of UFC Vegas 49. Green was originally scheduled to take on Beneil Dariush, but Makhachev quickly replaced Dariush, ending Green’s career with strikes in round one. It was the tenth win in a row for Makhachev and many are calling for the Dagestani fighter to get a title shot next, but former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos believes those calls are premature.

“We knew what he was going to do,” dos Anjos told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. It looked like Bobby Green came in to get his check. He went in, collected his check, and walked away. He fought the guy two weeks back. It is not easy to prepare for a fight. It isn’t my fault, but I can take credit for it. Bobby Green was there. He filled the hole and saved his card. That’s it .”

“I don’t think [Makhachev deserves a title shot], to be honest with you. He’s got a 10 [fight] win streak, but look at his resume. He did not fight top men, or any of the top competitors. He was supposed to fight Benny but unfortunately Benny got injured. So I don’t think so.”

Though Makhachev is currently on a 10-fight winning streak, he only has one win over a currently ranked fighter, Dan Hooker, who sits at No. 8 in the UFC rankings but has already stated his intention to return to the featherweight division. The lack of a signature win has led some, like dos Anjos, to push back against Makhachev’s immediate title aspirations.

Dos Anjos has a history with Makhachev. Although the two were supposed to face off on three occasions, injury and illness conspired against them from meeting. The two fighters now have the chance to settle their differences. Dos Anjos was set to face Rafael Fiziev in the co-main event of UFC 272 this Saturday, however, on Monday Fiziev was forced out of the fight after contracting COVID-19. Now, the UFC is in search of a new opponent for dos Anjos Saturday and though he doubts Makhachev would do so, the former lightweight champion says he’d happily accept the fight if offered.

“I’m game. Like I told you, I’m always game,” dos Anjos said. I’ll fight anyone. “I fight. I’m a fighter. I am here to fight anyone Saturday …. They don’t fight like this. To be able to fight, they need the best fight camp possible. They’re not gonna do it.”

Makhachev could be open to the idea, despite dos Anjos doubts. Shortly after it was announced that Fiziev had withdrawn, Makhachev offered to step in, and given the short-notice nature of the fight, dos Anjos suggested the two fight at a 165-pound catchweight.

Although no replacement for dos Anjos has been identified at this point, the ex-lightweight champion insists he wants to continue on the card against Makhachev and anyone else that the UFC may have.

“I’ll fight anybody,” dos Anjos said. “I’m a fighter. I am willing to fight. At this point in my career .”

, I cannot throw away a fight camp.

UFC 272 takes place this Saturday at the T-Mobil Arena in Las Vegas.