Islam Makhachev continued to step out of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s shadow last night, with an impressive TKO win over Bobby Green in the main event of UFC Vegas 49. The win extended the Dagestani’s win streak to 10-fights and gave him his fourth stoppage victory in a row, following submissions of Dan Hooker, Thiago Moises and Drew Dober.
With the win over Green, who was coming in on short notice for the injured Beneil Dariush, Makhachev is in pole position to fight the winner of Charles Oliveira vs. Justin Gaethje. That UFC lightweight title fight is scheduled for UFC 274 on May 7.
Despite being at the front of the line for a title shot, Makhachev confessed he would be interested in something else for his next Octagon appearance: a showdown with Conor McGregor.
There’s not many people in the UFC who wouldn’t want to fight the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion. Despite his waning popularity, and slumping record inside the cage, he is still a good bet to bring in a higher than usual pay-per-view buy rate.
But that’s not why Makhachev is interested in fighting him.
McGregor and Nurmagomedov will forever be known for one of the most bitter and distasteful rivalries in the history of MMA.
The pair became embroiled back in 2018 when McGregor threw a dolly through the window of a bus carrying Nurmagomedov and other UFC fighters. After that, the pair were booked to fight each other and their feud continued to intensify.
Their fight ended in a decisive victory for Nurmagomedov, who tapped the Irishman with a neck crank. However, immediately after that ‘The Eagle’ caused chaos to erupt around the cage after he launched himself at McGregor’s entourage.
That brawl lead to McGregor scrapping with members of Nurmagomedov’s team inside the cage, including Makhachev.
Ever since then McGregor and Nurmagomedov have sniped at each other at every chance they get.
It’s no surprise that Makhachev is interested in sustaining this feud and getting a chance to exact some punishment for McGregor inside the cage. When asked about McGregor last night, Makhachev said he welcomed such a fight and then brushed off any kind of threat McGregor could pose.
“Honestly, I don’t remember when this guy beat someone,” he said (ht MMA News). “He have to come back, beat someone, and … let’s go, why not? I’m gonna smash him like easy. Bobby Green is gonna be hard for me more than for him.”
McGregor has been out of action since last July, when his leg was broken in a fight with Dustin Poirier at UFC 264. The fight, which was ruled a TKO loss, was McGregor’s second TKO loss to Poirier in 2021.
Prior to those back-to-back losses to ‘The Diamond’, McGregor took a quick TKO win over Donald Cerrone. That fight, in 2020, was McGregor’s first fight since his loss to Nurmagomedov in 2018.