UFC’s Islam Makhachev Rips Michael Chandler: I Need ‘Real Opponent’ for Title Fight

Mike LogoFeatured Columnist IVJuly 2, 2024

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - JUNE 01: Islam Makhachev of Russia prepares to face Dustin Poirier in the UFC lightweight championship fight during the UFC 302 event at Prudential Center on June 01, 2024 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev took a shot at Michael Chandler on Tuesday, one day after Chandler said he had been offered the opportunity to fight Makhachev.

Chandler posted Monday on X that he was offered on October title bout with Makhachev, but expressed his desire to face Conor McGregor at Sphere in Las Vegas instead:

Michael Chandler @MikeChandlerMMA

I’ve been offered @MAKHACHEVMMA in October – but if @TheNotoriousMMA little pinky toe is ready by Sept, let’s do sphere. Biggest sporting event in history of sports!!!! @RiyadhSeason #ufc306

Makhachev responded Tuesday, calling Chandler “unreliable” and noting that he wants a “real opponent.”

Makhachev Islam @MAKHACHEVMMA

You are unreliable dude, one tweet from your master, and you’ll run away.
Champ needs real opponent.

Chandler had been scheduled to clash with McGregor at UFC 303, which took place last weekend, but the fight was postponed due to McGregor suffering an injury.

McGregor has not fought since suffering a broken leg in a loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 in 2021, but it was widely assumed his hiatus would come to an end when he and Chandler were chosen as opposing coaches on The Ultimate Fighter.

The stage was completely set for his return fight against Chandler, but in the wake of the contest getting called off, it is unclear when or if it will get rescheduled.

Makhachev, 32, has been one of UFC’s most dominant fighters since debuting with the promotion in 2015.

While he lost his second UFC fight to Adriano Martins, Makhachev has since reeled off 14 consecutive victories, including beating Charles Oliveira for the vacant UFC lightweight title at UFC 280 in 2022.

Since then, Makhachev has beaten Alexander Volkanovski twice, and he defeated Poirier by fifth-round submission at UFC 302 last month, bringing his career record to 26-1.

The 38-year-old Chandler has been at the opposite end of the spectrum recently, losing three of his past four fights.

Since beating Dan Hooker at UFC 257 in 2021, the former Bellator lightweight champion has lost to Oliveira and Justin Gaethje. He bounced back with a win over Tony Ferguson at UFC 274 in 2022, but Chandler’s most recent bout was a loss to Poirier at UFC 281 in November 2022.

Given that Chandler recently lost to fighters who Makhachev was able to beat, it is fair to wonder if Chandler would have a legitimate chance to dethrone the Russian star.

As of now, it doesn’t sound as though Makhachev or Chandler or interested in the fight, but if their social media feud continues, it could compel UFC president Dana White to want to make it happen.

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