UFC title hopeful and Khabib Nurmagomedov training partner Islam Makhachev has hit back at fans who have accused him of picking “Mickey Mouse” foes, insisting that “not a single one” of the top 10 lightweights wanted to fight him.
Some fans have been enraged by reports that the Dagestani destroyer will make his much-anticipated return to action on July 17 at UFC Fight Night 191, with Thiago Moses, who is ranked at 16, reportedly lined up as an opponent.
Critics tagged the manager Makhachev shares with former champion Nurmagomedov, Ali Abdelaziz, and asked whether the likes of Rafael dos Anjos, Paul Felder and Dan Hooker had really turned down the opportunity to face him.
“Are you serious? Do better,” jibed one, while another said Moses’ record, which includes two defeats in six UFC fights since winning Dana White’s Contender Series Brazil 3, was a demonstration of Makhachev meeting “holy Mickey Mouse opponents”.
TOP 10 of LW division is a bunch of old ass slick fighters. Not a single one accepted the fight they were offered. NO MATTER WHAT, I’M GONNA KEEP MOVING AND GET THAT BELT SOON, with or without these clowns. See you July 17 @ufc@espnmmahttps://t.co/j0Df3tNDaT
— Makhachev Islam (@MAKHACHEVMMA) May 13, 2021
Holy Mickey Mouse opponents
— x- Shaq “Jaguar 🐆😔” Griffin🏅🌟 FAN ACCOUNT (@ShaqGriffinSZN) May 13, 2021
Makhachev clearly either caught wind of the negative feedback or was just angry in general. Retweeting a post by ESPN, the 29-year-old wrote a seething caption calling the division’s top 10 “a bunch of old ass slick fighters”.
“Not a single one accepted the fight they were offered,” he claimed. “No matter what, I’m going to keep moving and get that belt soon, with or without these clowns. See you July 17.”
A calmer head pleaded for patience from Makhachev and his followers. “Lightweight is so f*cking stacked,” they began.
This dude should fight for the title by now but it’s all money fights , we got it
— khaled ghafar (@ghafar_khaled) May 13, 2021
Lw is so f stacked. Tony , Chandler, charles, justin, dustin , conor… He needs to wait and getting an ez fight to keep the win streak is a great idea i think. If conor & tony loses, they are out of the pic & dustin gets the next shot. Then islam will get a top10 opponent.
— Zeki Çamurcu (@SadFM_Zek) May 13, 2021
“Tony [Ferguson], [Michael] Chandler, Charles [Oliveira], Justin [Gaethje], Dustin [Poirier], Conor [McGregor]… he needs to wait and getting an easy fight to keep the win streak is a great idea.
“If Conor and Tony lose [their upcoming fights], they are out of the picture and Dustin gets the next shot [at the winner of Oliveira vs. Chandler this weekend]. Then Islam will get a Top 10 opponent.”
In response, 7-5 minnow Anthony ‘PrettyBoy’ Taylor popped up to inform Makhachev that he is available as his next opponent.
@MAKHACHEVMMA 🙋🏽♂️HI…… I’m available on that day!!💆🏾♂️
— Anthony PrettyBoy Taylor (@anthony_foreal) May 13, 2021
Bro ur not even in the big leagues yet an calling out the hardest fight in the world in the division. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Hope u make it soon tho u got hands
— Ricky G (@RickGrimes7788) May 14, 2021
“Bro, you’re not even in the big leagues yet and [you’re] calling out the hardest fight in the world in the division,” a pundit piped up.
“Don’t get ahead of yourself. Hope you make it soon, though. You’ve got [nice] hands.”
One reader argued that UFC newcomer Michael Chandler is fighting for the belt at UFC 262 this weekend because he is American, calling the sport “rigged”.
Everyone on top 10 are scared to fight @MAKHACHEVMMA they know he’s @TeamKhabib brother they trained together, they know they lose to Islam if they fight him. Well Guess what now he’ll come to top 10 and Smash everyone of you and take that Belt@danawhite@ufc@espnmma
— Jordan K (@IamJordan4U) May 14, 2021
On the other hand Michael Chandler just make his debut last year won one fight and now he’s fighting for the belt just because he is American. This game is rigged @danawhite
— Jordan K (@IamJordan4U) May 14, 2021
Those comments echoed the words of Tony Ferguson at the last press conference ahead of the card.
“I’m going to be real. You got this sh*t handed to you. You got Dana White privilege,” ‘El Cucy’ told Chandler in Houston to laughter from fans and even the promotion president himself.
Moving on to Nurmagomedov, Ferguson dubbed his former potential opponent a “f*cking b*tch” and a “p*ssy”.
“I’m going to dedicate this song [to him] called ‘Mask Off’. ‘Chase a cheque, never chase a b*tch’. That’s Khabib,” Ferguson quipped, in reference to a hit by rapper Future of the same name.
Islam Makhachev: “My dream fight is Tony Ferguson. That’s my dream fight. I just want to make him retire. He talks too much. Khabib is retired, now he keeps pressuring him, for what? I’m here, I have a 7-fight win streak, make this happen.” #UFC259
— Shaheen Al-Shatti (@shaunalshatti) March 7, 2021
Nobody wants to fight him
— 🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸 (@swagIord0) May 13, 2021
As one of Nurmagomedov’s closest friends who was also trained by the 29-0 great’s late father, Abdulmanap, Makhachev has no love lost with Ferguson either.
After extending his winning streak to seven victories at UFC 259 by dominating Drew Dober, Makhachev threatened to retire the 37-year-old veteran.
“My dream fight is Tony Ferguson,” he said shortly after having his hand raised. “That’s my dream fight. I just want to make him retire. He talks too much.
“Khabib is retired, now [Ferguson] keeps pressuring him, for what? I’m here, I have a seven-fight win streak, make this happen.”
With back-to-back losses, Ferguson faces a do-or-die clash with Beneil Dariush on Saturday. Should he win his next fight, Makhachev might get his wish once and for all.