UFC Hall of Famer Michael Bisping wants to see Islam Makhachev do more to warrant surpassing Jon Jones in the pound-for-pound race.
Makhachev knocked out UFC Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski in their lightweight title rematch at UFC 294. He was slated to face Charles Oliveira on October 21 before Oliveira withdrew on days’ notice.
The Dagestani, who is the protégé of UFC Hall of Famer Khabib Nurmagomedov, is looking to acclaim a title held by Nurmagomedov during his legendary career. As of this writing, he’s knocking on the door of the pound-for-pound No. 1 spot, trailing only Jon Jones.
Makhachev believes he’s done enough to warrant the pound-for-pound king title, but Bisping thinks Makhachev still needs to set himself apart from Jones.
Michael Bisping: Jon Jones Stands Alone In Pound-For-Pound Debate
In a recent YouTube segment, Bisping explained why Jones should keep his spot amongst the top pound-for-pound fighters in MMA.
“When you look at the reign of dominance he went on, it’s unbelievable,” Bisping said of Jones. “No disrespect to Islam Makhachev. Granted, the frustrating thing for him is he just beat the pound-for-pound No. 1 two times in a row…
“He’s not on a run of legends like Jon Jones has been through…if Stipe goes out there and loses to Jon Jones, which a lot of people think is going to happen, then Islam won’t take the top spot…there’s a lot on the line there for Jon Jones, not only money, not only legacy, but also the pound-for-pound No. 1. [Islam] wants to do something that Jon Jones has done, become a two-weight world champion. If he does that, he’ll become the pound-for-pound No. 1.”
Makhachev has won 13 fights in a row, including a then-vacant lightweight title win over Oliveira last year at UFC 280. He’s defeated Volkanovski in back-to-back fights in 2023 and could face Justin Gaethje for his next lightweight title defense.
Makhachev has also hinted at moving up to welterweight to face the Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington winner. If he wins a second title, he’ll do something that his mentor Nurmagomedov didn’t attain despite his many accolades.
Makhachev is arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world at present, despite the up-to-date UFC rankings. But, Bisping wants to see Makhachev continue to add to his repertoire before crowning him in the pound-for-pound discussion.
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