Islam Makhachev has warned Michael Chandler to mind his own business after the American MMA star suggested that the Russian fighter has risen to prominence on the back of a series of easy matchups.
Makhachev, who is 11-1 in the UFC (22-1 overall), is due to take on the in–form Charles Oliveira for the vacant UFC lightweight championship in Abu Dhabi on October 22, in a fight which comes after the Brazilian was stripped of the world title for marginally failing to make weight ahead of a proposed title defense against Justin Gaethje in May.
But regardless of the late slip–up, Oliveira scythed through Gaethje in a little more than three minutes, forcing the American star to tap out after sinking in a rear naked choke submission.
It was Oliveira’s 11th win in succession against an extended list of high-profile opponents which also included the likes of Dustin Poirier, Tony Ferguson and Michael Chandler – and in a recent interview, Chandler suggested that Makhachev’s career is all smoke and mirrors up to this point.
“Nothing against Islam, you say he looks great, you say he looks unbeatable at times, but he hasn’t really fought anybody,” Chandler told MMA Fighting.
“That’s really the truth. He beat number 14 and then he beat Dan Hooker, who was on a three or four-fight losing streak.
“Now people will say, ‘well, one of your wins was against Dan Hooker, what are you talking about?’ I fought Dan Hooker at a different time. He had just gone 25 minutes with Dustin Poirier, who at that time was the number two lightweight on the entire planet.
“I’m not saying that [Islam] not that good,” Chandler added. “We just can’t say that he’s that good yet. It’s premature praise.”
Makhachev, the man universally regarded as Khabib Nurmagomedov’s UFC successor at 155lbs, has a different opinion, and amid his own extended winning streak he says that his shot at the UFC gold is more than justified.
“Haha, your only two wins in UFC is [Dan] Hooker who came out of loss, and Tony [Ferguson] who has 5 losses in the row now,” an aggravated Makhachev tweeted.
“Please shut up and stay in line.”
Haha., your only two win in UFC is Hooker who came out of loss, and Tony who has 5 losses in the row now., please shut up and stay in line🤐 https://t.co/DXPrf3A9dX
— Makhachev Islam (@MAKHACHEVMMA) September 26, 2022
The Russian star will have an opportunity to prove his words when he takes on Oliviera next month in a fight which many expect will confirm the rightful top-ranked 155lbs fighters on the planet.
And if it is the Dagestan-born fighter who has his hand raised when all is said and done, it will be difficult for Chandler – or for anyone – to claim that he isn’t the world’s best.