Video: Islam Makhachev receives hero’s welcome in return to Dagestan following UFC 280


Dagestan loves Islam Makhachev.

On Saturday, Makhachev was awarded the UFC lightweight title when he defeated Charles Oliveira at the main event UFC 280.. Returning home this week, Makhachev received a hero’s welcome from his countrymen, who greeted him in droves to show their support (video courtesy of Red Corner MMA) as he arrived in Makhachkala.

Makhachev is the UFC’s second ever Dagestani champion, after his teammate and coach Khabib Nurmagomedov, who won the lightweight title in 2018 but vacated the belt two years later following the passing of his father — and Makhachev’s former coach — Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. Khabib, who had retired from fighting in the UFC, lobbied hard for Makhachev’s chance to compete for the title. He even wrapped the belt around Makhachev when he won it.

After his victory, Makhachev set the stage for his title defense. He had Alexander Volkanovski, featherweight champion, face off against Makhachev at UFC 284, Perth, Australia, in February. Although the UFC is yet to sign off on the fight, there are all indications that it will be the next fight for the champion. speaking in media with Makhachev after his arrival, , Makhachev reiterated his desire to fight.

” For me, and for MMA lovers, Volkanovski seems more intriguing as a challenge because there will two belts on line,” Makhachev stated. “It’s always big when two champions face each other. I think it’s always exciting for the fans. However, I don’t downplay Dariushs achievements. His winning streak is impressive and he’s beaten solid opponents. The title shot goes to him too. But I’ve never picked opponents. I’ll fight anyone the UFC offers me.”

Makhachev said he would take a week to visit his family in Dagestan before heading back to America to support Usman Nurmagomedov, as he trains for his Bellator lightweight title match against Patricky Pitbull.

He also challenged the UFC 281’s winner between Dustin Poirier & Michael Chandler to get the next shot.

” I don’t believe either one of them will be given an immediate title shot,” Makhachev stated. How many times has Poirier fought for the belt?” Chandler has fought just four times in the organization, and lost two of them, so I don’t think Chandler deserves a title shot even if he wins.”