Las Vegas, NV — Despite having many small injuries in training camp, Islam Makhachev was very happy with the outcome of the UFC Vegas 31 main event.
Makhachev earned a fourth-round submission over Thiago Moises, but what he appeared most pleased with was going into the championship rounds. “I’m happy because I go more than three rounds. Good experience. It’s a good opponent,” he told media outlets including Cageside Press following the event Saturday at the UFC Apex.
Following the win, Makhachev called for a match-up with Rafael dos Anjos. With RDA ranked just a few spots above him at #6 in the lightweight division, it was a smart choice. Of course, there are other options. In the past, Makhachev has expressed interest in fights with Michael Chandler and Tony Ferguson.
If he had his druthers, Makhachev said Saturday that he’d take the fight with “El Cucuy.”
“If they’re going to give me a choice, let’s do it with Tony. Because we have good history with him,” Makhachev explained. “Khabib [Nurmagomedov]’s supposed to fight with him like, five, six times. Let’s finish this. I’m going to finish this. And I’m going to show people around the world that Tony’s not Khabib level.”
With Ferguson coming off a trio of losses, that may not be a fight the UFC wants to make. Still, it’s clear that Makhachev has put himself in position for a big fight next. And he’s hoping to compete again in 2021. “Let’s do end of this year. One more fight. I’m going to finish one more fight, and I’m going to be Fighter of the Year.”
While there have been constant comparisons between Islam Makhachev and Khabib Nurmagomedov, Makhachev doesn’t actually mind them, he told Cageside Press. “I want to be like Khabib. He’s a great man, he’s a champion. He has a lot of money. He has everything, but he’s still a humble guy.” The lightweight revealed that Khabib had paid for a lot of his team’s expenses, including renting a house in San Jose, cars, and more. “I cannot explain about Khabib, because he does a lot, a lot of stuff, but nobody knows this. But we always have to tell him ‘thank you.'”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 31 post-fight press conference with Islam Makhachev above.