According to Islam Makhachev, Bobby Green wasn’t his first choice, but he’s the only one who answered the call.

When Beneil Dariush was forced out due to a foot injury, Makhachev hoped he’d get a ranked lightweight as a replacement for his main event at UFC Fight Night 202 on Saturday.

But Makhachev (21-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) didn’t get his wish and wound up drawing unranked Green (29-12-1 MMA, 10-7-1 UFC) in a 160-pound catchweight bout after he claimed that none of his desired choices responded.

“Yeah, when Ali (Abdelaziz) called me and said Beneil have injury, I tell him, ‘Hey, we have RDA (Dos Anjos). He’s supposed to fight with Rafael (Fiziev), but Rafael have some problem with visa,” Makhachev said on ESPN’s “DC & RC.” show. “I say he’s ready, I think, call him, and he say he don’t want. I say, ‘Call Tony (Ferguson), call Gillespie, Michael Chandler, someone,’ and just Bobby gave me answer. And I think this guy need some little bit money, that’s why.

“All these guys from top 10, they talk too much, and that’s it because without rankings we have many good fighters, and it’s very hard to jump to top 15. We have to change all these old people from top 15 and very soon we’re gonna change the king in 155. Very soon we’re gonna change this division.”

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Despite facing a less credentialed fighter than Dariush, Makhachev still expects to earn a title shot with a win over Green.

“I really believe because I deserve this,” Makhachev said. “It’s gonna be a 10-fight win streak, and I think 10 fights, this is key for the title fight. That’s why it doesn’t matter who. I just ask all the time for someone ranked. They give me all these people. I smash all of them. I just did my job. I have to beat this guy. Last three fights I finished all my opponents and next Bobby Green, and after it’s gonna be a good match in Abu Dhabi I think.”


UFC Fight Night 202: Make your predictions for Islam Makhachev vs. Bobby Green


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