After Islam Makhachev beat Thiago Moises in the main event of UFC Vegas 31 there has been a lot of movements in the lightweight division.
Islam Makhachev called out top UFC lightweights such as Michael Chandler, Tony Ferguson, Rafael Dos Anjos, and Beneil Dariush. However, only Dan Hooker and Rafael Dos Anjos have shown interest in fighting Makhachev next.
UFC did book RDA vs Islam Makhachev for a 5 round main event in the past. However, the fight was canceled after RDA tested positive for COVID-19.
Though there are a lot of options for Islam Makhachev in the lightweight division it seems UFC is likely to book RDA vs Makhachev next. And amidst all the speculations RDA has sent a cryptic tweet that has left the fans in suspense.
In a recent tweet, Rafael Dos Anjos stated:
“I just heard back from the UFC that Islam accepted to fight me Oct 30 5 rounds in Abu Dhabi and Khabib agreed to come out of retirement to avenge his brother’s loss after that.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov retired from the sport after his win over Justin Gaethje at UFC 264. And he recently confirmed in an interview that he has no intentions of coming back to the octagon. He even seemed uninterested in a dream matchup with Georges St-Pierre. So considering all that it seems RDA is trolling Makhachev in a response to his call out. Though RDA vs Makhachev is the most likely matchup UFC is going to book next there is no official confirmation on it so far.
Who should Islam Makhachev fight next?
There are a lot of similarities between the rise of Islam Makhachev in UFC to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s. Though Makhachev has not been as dominant as Khabib Nurmagomedov he has been able to rally on a 8 fight winning streak in the lightweight division. And now he is arguably a couple of fights away from a potential title shot.
However, Islam Makhachev does not have a win against a top UFC lightweight. And Rafael Dos Anjos can be the perfect matchup for Makhachev. There is also a rivalry between the two since RDA fought Khabib Nurmagomedov when Khabib was a up and comer in UFC.
If Islam Makhachev can beat the former UFC lightweight champion in a dominant fashion then he will be seen as a strong contender for the lightweight title. However, a loss for Makhachev can put an end to his winning streak and diminish the hype behind him.