Islam Makhachev would “love to fight” Justin Gaethje next if RDA bout doesn’t come to fruition

Islam Makhachev
Image Credit: UFC

Islam Makhachev believes he will face a top-10 opponent next time out.

At UFC 259, Makhachev dominated Drew Dober en route to a third-round submission win. The victory extended his winning streak to seven in a row and is looking to fight a top-ranked opponent. The goal was to rebook the Rafael dos Anjos fight this summer in the main event spot, but he is also open to fighting anyone in the top-10.

“I don’t know what’s going on with the UFC matchmaking but I think that’s what will end up happening,” Makhachev said after an Eagle Fighting Championship event (translation via RT Sport). “Most of the top-10 fighters are busy but I’m 90 percent sure they’ll give me a top-10 guy…

“We know that Felder doesn’t want to fight often. He has other things going on with the UFC and isn’t eager to fight anymore. As far as Hooker, I saw that he recently came home. He was quarantined for a long time so I don’t think he’ll want to come back soon. He’ll probably want to rest after getting knocked out, so I think they’ll give me dos Anjos.”

The Rafael dos Anjos fight certainly makes sense for Islam Makhachev. The Brazilian is the former lightweight champion and if the Russian can get his hand raised, he would likely get a number one contender fight. Yet, if the RDA fight doesn’t happen, Makhachev says he’d love to fight Justin Gaethje given the fact “The Highlight” isn’t booked right now and is available.

“Yes, it’s possible. Justin and I know each other but it’s not like we’re friends,” Makhachev said. “It’s possible. He’s free right now. Why not? I’d love to fight him.”

As of right now, Makhachev is just waiting for his next fight but is hoping to return in the summer.

Who would you like Islam Makhachev to fight next?

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