Islam Makhachev secured another impressive win in the lightweight division in the main event of UFC vegas 31. This time he took on ranked number14, Thiago Moises, and beat him via submission. Now it can not be denied that the journey of Islam Makhachev in the lightweight division has been extremely impressive.
After his only loss in MMA, Makhachev was able to bounce back and rally a 8 fight win streak in the lightweight division. However, he has certainly not earned the position of number 5 in the stacked lightweight division. Prior to the fight with Moises, Makhachev was ranked number 9 in the LW division.
Currently, Islam Makhachev is ahead of Dan Hooker, Rafael Dos Anjos, and Tony Ferguson in the rankings. And it seems he is one win away from getting a title shot.
Now the only way this jump of Makhachev can be explained is if we consider the fact that Dan Hooker, Conor McGregor, and Tony Ferguson are coming off multiple losses. And Rafael Dos Anjos beat Paul Felder who is no longer in the lightweight division.
However, it’s bizarre that Islam Makhachev is ranked number 5 lightweight in UFC and he has not even beaten a single opponent inside the top 10.
The significant wins in Makhachev’s career are against Thiago Moises, Drew Dobber, Arman Tsarukyan, and Davi Ramos. And none of these opponents were in the top 10 when Makhachev fought them.
Why Islam Makhachev should not be rushed into a title fight?
It’s needless to say that Islam Makhachev is a rising star in the lightweight division. And his association with the former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has earned him a huge fanbase. Besides that, he has been impressive with his performances in UFC, which has convinced the fans and MMA pundits that he is going to be a champion in the near future.
But, UFC pushing Makhachev to a shot at the lightweight title might backfire. As good as Makhachev is inside the octagon it’s unlikely that he beats the top lightweights such as Charles Oliveria, Dustin Poirier, Justin Gaethje, and Michael Chandler.
Even top 10 lightweights such as Rafael Dos Anjos and Dan Hooker can be a huge task for Makhachev and they can possibly beat him as well. Now there are some favorable matchups for Islam Makhachev in the lightweight division such as Tony Ferguson.
But, being the ranked number 5 lightweight, it’s very likely that Makhachev will fight someone who is ahead of him in the rankings. And that can be detrimental to Makhachev’s career as the hype behind him will possibly be over once he loses to a top lightweight.
It’s obvious that UFC is trying to build Islam Makhachev as a star and even the fans are starting to believe that Makhachev will have a similar path as Khabib Nurmagomedov had. However, considering the last performances of Makhachev it can be said that Makhachev needs to make significant adjustments to his game if he is to beat the likes of Dustin Poirier or Charles Oliveira.