Islam Makhachev names three fighters who declined to step up and fight him at UFC Vegas 49

By Cole Shelton - February 23, 2022

Islam Makhachev says Bobby Green was not the first person that was asked to fight him.


On 10 days’ notice, it was revealed that Beneil Dariush had been forced out of his UFC Vegas 49 main event fight against Makhachev. However, shortly thereafter, Bobby Green agreed to step up on short notice and take the fight, but according to Makhachev, three fighters were asked before him.

“RDA (Rafael dos Anjos), Tony (Ferguson), and (Gregor) Gillespie, they all said no, Ali told me this,” Makhachev said at media day. “I don’t want to say they are scared or something because this one week before the fight, but I always have the same problem (of) finding someone.”

As Makhachev says, it was short notice so it shouldn’t be a surprise to see those three fighters say no to the offer. Rafael dos Anjos is set to return next weekend at UFC 272 against Rafael Fiziev but has been booked against Makhachev in the past. Tony Ferguson, meanwhile, is linked to a bout with Michael Chandler while there is no clear reason as to why Gillespie said no.

Islam Makhachev, Dillon Danis, Kevin Lee

Image via @Islam_Makhachev on Instagram

But, the good news for Islam Makhachev is the fact Bobby Green stepped up which the Dagestani native is excited about.

“I have to respect him because he’s making this happen and he wants to make money and I just want to help him a little bit,” Makhachev said.

Even though Green is stepping up on short notice and isn’t ranked, Makhachev also says he will be next in line for a title shot with a win.

Islam Makhachev (21-1), is coming off a first-round submission victory over Dan Hooker and prior to that, submitted Moises in his first UFC main event. The win over Hooker also came on short notice after dos Anjos was forced out of their UFC 267 bout. The Dagestani fighter is on a nine-fight winning streak and ranked fourth at lightweight.

What do you make of Islam Makhachev saying RDA, Ferguson and Gillespie all turned down the fight?