Michael Chandler prepares to take on Justin Gaethje at UFC 268 on Nov. 6, 2021 at Madison Square Garden in New York. | Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC
Michael Chandler doesn’t think Islam Makhachev is ready for a title shot just yet.
Michael Chandler agrees with UFC president Dana White’s decision to pump the brakes on an Islam Makhachev title shot, claiming the No. 3-ranked lightweight needs another big win before he gets a crack at Charles Oliveira.
Chandler thinks it’s only a matter of time before Makhachev, who trains under Khabib Nurmagomedov, challenges for the belt but doesn’t think a win over an unranked opponent is enough to solidify him as a title contender.
‘Iron’ Mike would like to see Makhachev get past No. 4-ranked Beneil Dariush before he’s launched into title contention, claiming a win over Bobby Green just isn’t enough.
“It’s a tough one, man,” Chandler, who will take on Tony Ferguson at UFC 274, told The Schmo in a recent interview (h/t BJPenn.com). “People talk about win streaks, obviously the man is on a win streak. He’s looking extremely dominant. We have a common opponent, he beat Dan Hooker in the first round just like I did. So that was the first time that he really stepped into the lightweight division inside the top 10 and staked his claim as one of the guys who will be competing for the title in the future.”
“However, beating Bobby Green shouldn’t get you a title shot,” Chandler added.
“His win streak has consisted of everybody outside of the top 10 aside from Dan Hooker. So I do think him and Beneil Dariush need to fight. I think it’s a great match-up, their strong suits complement each other very well, they’re both grapplers. I think the UFC is the best promotion on the planet, they know what they’re doing, they know how to put together great fights. I think Islam needs to continue to cut his teeth inside the top of the lightweight division.”
Makhachev is on a ten-fight win streak and only lost out on a title shot due to unforeseen circumstances.
The feared Dagestani was expected to take on Dariush in a number one contender’s bout at UFC Fight Night 202 but Dariush suffered an ankle injury prior to the fight and was forced to pull out at the last minute. Makhachev went on to fight Green instead, finishing the UFC veteran via first-round TKO. The Dariush fight is expected to be rebooked at a later date.