Chandler, who was on broadcast duties for last night’s UFC on ESPN 26 show, credited Makhachev for his ‘phenomenal’ performance but was reluctant to accept the Dagestani’s challenge.
“Slick little call out right there,” Chandler said on the UFC Vegas 31 post fight show (h/t MMA Fighting). “He did what he said he was going to do tonight and he did what he needed to do tonight, which was go out there and put a big stamp on his performance. Now he’s doing what he needs to do as well. He’s sitting at No. 9, he wants to say as many names as he possibly can. Slick little call out.
“The man impressed tonight. I’ve got to take my fighter hat off, be the analyst tonight, he did a phenomenal job against a very tough man. Kid’s got a bright future, we’ll see what happens.”
Chandler believes Makhachev presents an interesting stylistic matchup but believes his NCAA Division I wrestling is superior to the Russian’s unorthodox sambo.
“I’m a homer when it comes to wrestling,” Chandler said. I think wrestling beats everything. I think wrestling beats judo, [Brazilian jiu-jitsu], I think it beats sambo but that’s just me being a homer. But what Islam Makhachev does is he gets you to these positions and he puts you in a position where you can’t really move. Thiago Moises has phenomenal chain grappling. We’ve seen him go all over the place, up, down, do flips, roll, sweep. He wasn’t able to do a lot of those things. The thing that Islam does best is he neutralizes guys. When you neutralize a guy, it’s not just physical. It’s mental. It’s emotional. It’s cardio. He sucks the life out of guys.
“Can he push the pace for that long? He showed tonight he can get a finish later in the rounds. I think wrestling beats sambo. I think wrestling beats every other ground martial art. Maybe someday we’ll see.”
Whether the two meet in the cage or not, ‘Iron’ Mike thinks Makhachev has a bright future ahead of him in the UFC.
“Khabib said he thinks he’s the future of the division. So only time will tell. Either way, the man’s got a bright future.”
Makhachev submitted Moises in the fourth round to extend his winning streak to eight fights in a row and cement his position among the lightweight elite. The 29-year-old is currently #9 in the official UFC 155-pound rankings.