Undisputed lightweight champion, Islam Makhachev has been backed to make a spectacular return to the Octagon ahead of schedule at a penned UFC event in Saudi Arabia in March of next year, taking on former-foe, Charles Oliveira in a title rematch, according to close friend and training partner, Daniel Cormier.
Makhachev, the current undisputed lightweight champion and pound-for-pound number one ranked fighter under the banner of the promotion, most recently headlined UFC 294 back in October in Abu Dhabi, UAE, landing a first round high-kick knockout win over two-time foe, Alexander Volkanovski.
As for Sao Paulo native, Oliveira, the former titleholder was scheduled to fight the Russian at the same event in the Middle East, until a nasty laceration suffered two weeks ahead of the rematch forced his withdrawal from the title clash.
Sidelined since June, Brazilian fan-favorite Oliveira turned in a blistering first round win over incoming UFC Austin headliner, Beneil Dariush, stopping the Iranian with a slew of ground strikes for a TKO win.
Islam Makhachev backed to fight Charles Oliveira in March
And announcing plans earlier this month to likely compete three times next year, including squeezing in a fight ahead of Ramadan in March, Makhachev has been backed to headline an earmarked UFC Saudi Arabia event by Cormier – in a rematch with Oliveira.
“So, there’s three guys, right?” Daniel Cormier said on DC & RC. “I think it’s a matter of how does Islam (Makhachev) wanna approach this year. He said he wants to fight in the first quarter, January, February, March. March works, Saudi Arabia, there’s a fight card there. It makes all the sense in the world. I think you get Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev number two.”
I think you get Islam vs. Charles, then I think Justin Gaethje – who has told me in our personal lives that he’s going to wait for Islam Makhachev,” Cormier explained. “He’s not gonna fight, he’s gonna wait for his title fight, you get Gaethje. That third fight to me is the one that I’m a kind of a bit torn on because if you’re thinking star power and you’re trying to build Makhahcev as a big star, you stick him in there with a Dustin Poirier.”
Do you expect to see Islam Makhachev fight Charles Oliveira as soon as March?