Former Champion Proclaims Himself As The Only Lightweight Who Can Beat Islam Makhachev After UFC 294

UFC Lightweight Champion Islam Makhachev further enhanced his legacy on mixed martial arts’ biggest stage this past weekend in Abu Dhabi.

While the UFC’s previous visit to the Etihad Arena saw him crowned champion, Makhachev returned to the venue on Saturday, this time to put his 155-pound gold on the line.

And it wasn’t only the location that served as a source of familiarity for the Dagestani, with the champ also being locked in the cage with an opponent he’s come to know very well.

After a cut suffered by Charles Oliveira took the Brazilian’s chance at revenge against Makhachev away, the opportunity instead fell to Alexander Volkanovski on short notice.

But although the Australian’s strong performance in Perth this past February led some to back Volkanovski’s chances second time around, the featherweight kingpin was emphatically stopped by a head kick inside the first round.

With that shocking result, post-fight discussions have included Makhachev’s claim to the pound-for-pound throne and talk of him surpassing the legacy of his great mentor, Khabib Nurmagomedov.

As superlatives like ‘unstoppable’ fly around, however, one former lightweight champion has expressed self-belief in his chances against Makhachev.

Dos Anjos Reignites Makhachev Rivalry With Claim Of Supremacy

Among a host of reactions to the memorable events that unfolded in the UFC 294 main event was that of Rafael dos Anjos, a former titleholder who currently occupies the #10 spot at 155 pounds.

In the past, “RDA” has had multiple bookings against Makhachev fall through. That includes in November 2020, when the Dagestani’s late withdrawal saw Paul Felder step up on short notice.

The pair’s paths haven’t crossed since owing to Makhachev’s rise to the belt and the Brazilian veteran’s defeat to Rafael Fiziev and most recent setback against Vicente Luque in their welterweight headliner this past August

That, however, doesn’t mean dos Anjos has lost any confidence…

“Looking at lightweight ranking I don’t see anyone other than me to beat Islam and he knows that #UFC294”

Dos Anjos is not currently booked for a return to the Octagon, but he’s been pushing for an appearance at the December 2 event, which is expected to be held in Austin, Texas.

Despite his claim of supremacy over Makhachev, the former lightweight kingpin brought his pursuit of a late run back to the title to an end following his loss to Fiziev last July, instead setting his sights on “fun” fights moving forward.

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