Dana White shares high praise for UFC champion Islam Makhachev: “He could go on a defense run that absolutely blows everybody away that ever held the belt”

By Susan Cox - October 24, 2023

Dana White is sharing high praise for UFC champion Islam Makhachev.

Dana White, Islam Makhachev, UFC 294, UFC

UFC 294 saw lightweight champion Islam Makhachev (25-1 MMA) defeat featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski (26-3 MMA) by KO at 3:06 of round 1 at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi last Saturday night.

Originally Makhachev was to have fought Charles Oliveira (34-9 MMA) at UFC 294, but ‘do Bronx’ pulled out of the match due to injury and Volkanovski stepped up to take his second shot at becoming a two-division champion. However, it was not to be, as ‘The Great‘ lost yet a second time to Makhachev.

UFC CEO Dana White was quick to praise the UFC champion Islam Makhachev for his performance this past Saturday.

At the UFC 294 post-fight news conference, CEO Dana White said:

“I don’t know if he really lives in Khabib’s shadow. (Saturday) was a big step in the right direction. The guy’s been dominant. Then, all the controversy that came off that last fight, and he finishes this fight the way that he did. … He went in there and viciously, impressively finished this fight with a (Mirko) ‘Crocop’-esque kick to the head. It doesn’t get any better than that against a very tough, durable guy who has a great chin. You don’t ever see anybody do that to Volkanovski.”

Islam Makhachev, UFC, Alexander Volkanovski, UFC 294, Results

Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0 MMA) coached Islam Makhachev to the UFC lightweight title he once held. Nurmagomedov retired from fighting in 2020 but went on to coach and announced his retirement from coaching earlier this year.

Continuing White, referencing Khabib again, said (h/t MMAJunkie):

“(If) he keeps doing what he’s doing – you’ve just got to keep grinding and knocking them down one by one – and it eventually happens. The truth is, when you look at Khabib – and nothing against Khabib; Khabib came in and won the title and defended – but (Makhachev) could go on a defense run that absolutely blows everybody away that ever held the belt in that division.”

Concluding, Dana White shared what he thinks is next for Islam Makhachev:

“I guess he’s talented enough (to win two belts). I don’t see that happening any time soon. He’s still got some guys to fight (at lightweight). But if he defends the belt for another year and wanted to move up, why not?”

Do you believe, like White, that Makhachev could ‘blow everybody away’ in the lightweight division? Who would you like to see the Russian fight next?

Share your thoughts in the comment section PENN Nation!

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