Islam Makhachev says Michael Chandler doesn’t deserve UFC lightweight title shot

Islam Makhachev, Dillon Danis, Kevin Lee
Image via @Islam_Makhachev on Instagram

Islam Makhachev says that divisional rival Michael Chandler doesn’t deserve to fight Charles Oliveira for the vacant UFC lightweight title.

Last week, Makhachev’s good friend, former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, announced his retirement from MMA. That means the 155lbs belt is now vacated, and the promotion quickly moved to book Chandler vs. Oliveira in the main event of UFC 262 in Houston for the vacant title. It’s a great fight on paper between two of the top-five ranked lightweights in the UFC, but some believe it wasn’t the right fight to make.

Oliveira has won eight straight fights in the UFC, so most people expected him to fight for the vacant belt next, but some, including Makhachev, don’t agree with Chandler getting the title shot over the likes of Dustin Poirier or Justin Gaethje. That’s because, as good as the former Bellator champion is, he’s only had one fight in the UFC, a KO win over Dan Hooker at UFC 257. That one win pales in comparison to what others have done in the Octagon.

Speaking to RT Sport, Makhachev criticized the Oliveira vs. Chandler matchup. In his opinion, the UFC should have booked Oliveira against either Gaethje or Poirier, instead.

“Honestly, I think Oliveira deserves it. He’s got a good win streak, but I don’t agree with Chandler being in there. He had one UFC fight and he hasn’t been tested. That first fight ended quickly. I think Justin Gaethje or Dustin Poirier could’ve fought for the title. But the UFC always has their own plans,” Makhachev said.

Gaethje is not happy that he was passed over for the title, though Poirier was likely passed over because he’s more concerned about getting a trilogy money fight with Conor McGregor. But Makhachev does have a point. As great of a career as Chandler’s had, most of it took place outside of the Octagon. For the fighters who have been battling it out in the UFC for years, it’s not easy to accept a newcomer being given the title shot before them.

Do you agree with Islam Makhachev that Michael Chandler doesn’t deserve a UFC lightweight title shot?

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