After Islam Makhachev’s dominant performance that ended in a third-round submission victory over Drew Dober at UFC 259 via arm-triangle choke, the Dagestani lightweight pondered what could be next.
Makhachev is the training partner and protege of UFC lightweight champion and all-time great Khabib Nurmagomedov. In a perfect world, Makhachev would like to face an elusive rival of his close friend.
“My dream fight is Tony [Ferguson] because we have some deal with him, like a couple years now,” he said at the UFC 259 post-fight press conference.
Makhachev’s reference to his camp’s dealings with “El Cucuy” point to the five previously scheduled bouts between Ferguson and Nurmagomedov, which all fell apart in extremely unfortunate fashion.
“I don’t understand this guy, but I want to just help him retire,” Makhachev said. “He is old. His mind is a little bit crazy. That’s why I just want to help him.”
Aside from the comedic jabs, Makhachev also takes issue with those who claimed the fantasy match-up between Ferguson and Khabib would be a tough fight for the latter.
With an opportunity to fight Ferguson, Makhachev believes he can quiet those who believed he had a legitimate chance at defeating Nurmagomedov.
“I just want to show people how Khabib would take him down, make him tired, make him tap,” Makhachev said. “Everybody talks like Tony is a hard fight for Khabib, but I never think like that because Khabib’s wrestling and grappling is a different level.”
Islam Makhachev doesn’t discount Tony Ferguson’s skills
Despite Makhachev’s belief that Khabib would handily defeat Ferguson, he gave credit where it is due.
“Tony is a very good fighter because he finished a lot of guys,” Makhachev said. “That’s why I just want to check my skills, and I know I can finish him.”
Quite frankly, Makhachev is well-deserving of a fight with a high-ranking lightweight contender.
The fact that Ferguson is ranked No. 5 in the division along with the history between Ferguson and Makhachev’s camp provides the potential lightweight clash with an enticing storyline for a fight that already makes a lot of sense.
“Honestly, I just want to fight with somebody from the top-five, but I know all the guys are busy,” Makhachev said.
“Some guys have fights like this, but I know Tony is now free. That’s why I asked him. Let’s make this happen.”
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