The UFC lightweight champion is ready to move up a division and challenge Edwards.
UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev wants to pursue champ-champ status.
After Leon Edwards successfully defended the UFC welterweight championship against Kamaru Usman at UFC 286 this past Saturday, Makhachev set his sights on ‘Rocky’ for a potential fight towards the end of the year.
“I want Leon next,” tweeted Makhachev. “October in Abu Dhabi.”
I want Leon next, October in Abu Dhabi
— Makhachev Islam (@MAKHACHEVMMA) March 19, 2023
It is no surprise to see Makhachev hinting at a switch in divisions, as the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) product recently revealed it was his ‘dream’ to hold titles at lightweight and welterweight. That said, Makhachev does have a potential No. 1 contender between Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush to focus on, so perhaps a move up in weight is out of the question — for now.
Makhachev has one defense on his résumé, a unanimous decision against UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski in a ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate at UFC 284 in February.
As for Edwards, he has his next defense set. UFC president Dana White announced at his post-fight press conference that Colby Covington was next for the Team Renegade representative.
However, if Makhachev wants to try his hand at a new weight class, Edwards is interested in a champ vs. champ fight when he returns to the Octagon.
“All comers are welcome,” said Edwards in his post-fight interview with BT Sport. “Pay me right and I will show up. That’s my mentality. If you pay me well, I will show up and anybody can get it.”
With the win against Usman in their highly anticipated trilogy, Edwards is on a 12-fight streak.
About the author: Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016. (full bio)
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