Makhachev's Next Move: Clash with Poirier or Topuria?

Coach Jorge Climent Pushes for Ilia Topuria vs. Islam Makhachev Clash, but Makhachev claims he will fight Poirier

by Sededin Dedovic
Makhachev's Next Move: Clash with Poirier or Topuria?
© Paul Kane / Getty Images

Islam Makhachev did not fight much, his matches are not that frequent, but it seems that he has now decided to be very active this year. UFC 300 will host two key featherweight and lightweight bouts. Champion Justin Gaethje (25-4) will face former champion Max Holloway (25-7), while former lightweight champion Charles Oliveira (34-9, 1NC) will take on Arman Tsarukyan (21-3).

As the lightweight champion, Makhachev will soon find out about his potential next opponent. However, with Islam's planned return in June, it is unlikely that the winner of the event will be ready to step into the cage again, especially with such high stakes on the line.

However, it will depend on the fighter, but looking at the stakes and who the opponent is, it is unlikely that we will see that match in June. This situation leads Islam to a potential matchup with recent UFC 299 winner Dustin Poirier.

"Diamond" secured a knockout victory over Benoit Saint Denis in the second round of their fight at UFC 299. He dominated throughout the bout, attempting a guillotine throughout, though it failed. However, in the end, Poirier deservedly won.

Prior to his win against the Frenchman, Poirier suffered a devastating knockout loss to Justin Gaethje. So, Dustin is 1-1 in his last two outings, but Makhachev isn't shying away from giving Poirier another shot at the title.

"I know Poirier doesn't deserve a title shot, but I have no other options right now. Everyone else is busy. I want to fight. I want to fight three times this year. I have to call someone and Poirier is available now. He had a great fight and scored beautiful knockout.

Now he's free, healthy, and I asked to fight him in June," Makhachov told MMA Junkie.

Dustin Poirier fights Benoit Saint Denis of France during their lightweight bout at UFC 299 at Kaseya Center on March 09, 2024 i© Megan Briggs / getty Images

Makhachev has not been in the Octagon for a long time.

Originally, the Dagestani fighter announced his return in early 2024, but injury derailed his plans after his last title defense at UFC 294 late last year. He sought a welterweight title fight against champion Leon Edwards, but the UFC offered him a spot at UFC 300.

The timing coincides with the month of Ramadan, during which Makhachev cannot prepare for a big fight. What a match it would be, but we hope that the UFC will match these two fighters soon, and it will be a real challenge for Makhachev.

Defending the title at the beginning of the summer is certain; the only question is whether it will be against Poirier or not. "Nobody will be ready, but I have to fight. I don't care. Now I'm healthy, I train every day and I need someone," Makhachev said and added a few words about Poirier.

"He's beaten a lot of top guys. He's a legend. Fighting him will be good for me, for history, for everybody. He's a tough opponent and he's got a good guillotine. The plan is to take him down, and when he tries to set up with the guillotine, I'll take his back and make him tap.

That's it." But today there is some interesting news that could change all this. Namely, Coach Jorge Climent sees the next step in the career of his fighter, Ilija Topuria, as a potential clash with the UFC lightweight champion, Islam Makhachev (25-1).

Climent naturally believes in his fighter and believes that El Matador will defeat Makhachev and become the champion in two categories. However, even though Topuria is one of the best fighters in the UFC right now, his coach would have to know that Mckhachev was too big a bite for many fighters.

Ilia Topuria, UFC Featherweight Champion, is seen with his belt on the pitch prior to the LaLiga EA Sports match between Real Ma© Angel Martinez / Getty Images

"We talked on the phone, but we haven't talked yet about who he wants to go to the Octagon with.

Personally, as his coach, I always have big things in mind to leave a mark behind. I would like to see him against Makhachev the most. It would be a pleasure to watch him goes up a division and wins both titles. I think he's capable of it.

If Volkanovski gave Makhatch the fight he gave him with preparation, Topuria can easily break the Dagestani," Climent told MMA Junkie. Topuria won the UFC featherweight title last month at the UFC 298 "event" when he dethroned Volkanovski with a knockout in the second round, surprising most MMA fans.

Volkanovski has been ravaging this division for a long time, and Topuria has emerged as the new king. Climent believes that his fighter should not return to the competition right away, but rather take a break or possibly another fight and later have a rematch with Volkanovski.

That's why he believes that the right move for Topuria right now would be the second division, that is, Makhachev. Sooner or later, Climent wants to see Topuria in the cage with Makhachev. "I think now is the ideal time for it. It would be a great pairing, and then we can defend the belt against 'Volk'," Climent said.

Islam Makhachev