Oct 22, 2022; Abu Dhabi, UAE; Islam Makhachev (blue gloves) celebrates with the title belt after defeating Charles Oliveira (red gloves) during UFC 280 at Etihad Arena. Mandatory Credit: Craig Kidwell-USA TODAY Sports

Makhachev Embraces Unexpected Rematch with Volkanovski at UFC 294

Lightweight Champion Embraces Last-Minute Switch, Ready to Defend Title Against Volkanovski

In a dramatic twist ahead of UFC 294, lightweight champion Islam Makhachev gears up for an unforeseen rematch against Alexander Volkanovski, replacing Charles Oliveira. The champion’s fearless acceptance echoes throughout the UFC community, highlighting the unwavering spirit of a true fighter.

When Charles Oliveira withdrew from UFC 294, Islam Makhachev faced a sudden change in the script. Rather than backing down, Makhachev reaffirmed his championship mindset, eagerly agreeing to a rematch with Alexander Volkanovski. His stance resonated strongly with UFC CEO Dana White, who shared Makhachev’s profound assertion:

“What does this title represent? It means you’re the best in the world… Let’s do this.”

The Dagestani fighter’s readiness also sparked comparisons with past incidents, particularly Jon Jones’ controversial refusal to fight Chael Sonnen at UFC 151, which Makhachev openly criticized.

“If you’re a real champion, you have to take the fight,”

insisted Makhachev, challenging the integrity of those unwilling to adapt.

Dana White, impressed, immortalized Makhachev’s valor by showcasing his words at the UFC’s key facilities. This commendation preludes the champion’s commitment, overshadowing Volkanovski’s recent taunts regarding Makhachev’s supposed reluctance for short-notice bouts.

Dismissing the featherweight champion’s jibes, Makhachev clarified,

“He just comes to make money. Everybody knows this.”

He underscored his own readiness to defend his title, regardless of the circumstances, dismissing any pressure due to his confidence as the reigning champion.

As UFC 294 approaches, Islam Makhachev’s steely resolve exemplifies the heart of the sport. Whether facing unexpected changes or challenging rankings, including his contentious placement behind Jones, Makhachev remains undeterred. With another victory over Volkanovski potentially securing his place among the sport’s elite, Makhachev discredits the rankings, vowing to let his performance inside the cage reaffirm his status.

“For me,” he concludes, “I just step to the cage, finish this guy, that’s it.”

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