Rafael dos Anjos ‘can’t understand’ why Islam Makhachev has agreed to fight Alexander Volkanovski in his first title defense, suggesting the newly-crowned UFC lightweight champion should take on a lightweight instead.
Dos Anjos never got around to fighting Makhachev at lightweight due to multiple fight cancellations from 2020-2022. As a former titleholder at lightweight, the Brazilian feels Makhachev should be defending his belt against a fellow 155er rather than the current featherweight champion.
Dos Anjos suggested Makhachev is avoiding a ‘real challenge’ by fighting Volkanovski despite the latter being the greatest pound-for-pound fighter on the planet and one of the best featherweight champions in UFC history.
“I think Islam will win that fight [against Volkanovski],” dos Anjos told reporters ahead of his submission win over Bryan Barberena at UFC Orlando (h/t BJPenn.com). “I think he could take somebody at lightweight, a real challenge. But these guys, I can’t understand them.”
Makhachev will take on Volkanvoski in a champ vs. champ superfight at UFC 284 on Feb. 12, 2023, at RAC Arena in Perth, Australia.