Makhachev: I deserve title shot against Oliveira
Islam Makhachev wants an opportunity to face off against Charles Oliveira for the vacant UFC lightweight title.
"We don't have a champion," Makhachev told ESPN's Brett Okamoto. "Charles is a contender. That's why it's going to be for the title. I deserve it. I have a 10-fight win streak."
Makhachev (22-1) is expected to fight Oct. 22 in Abu Dhabi against an opponent that has yet to be determined, Okamoto reports. UFC president Dana White has said that he wants to match Makhachev up with Beneil Dariush again after an ankle injury forced Dariush to withdraw from their scheduled fight in February.
However, White has also hinted at booking the Russian fighter against Oliveira. Makhachev dispatched Bobby Green with a first-round TKO at UFC Fight Night in February to extend his win streak to 10.
Oliveira (33-8) was stripped of the lightweight belt after missing weight by half a pound in his title defense against Justin Gaethje at UFC 274 earlier in May. The Brazilian submitted Gaethje in the first round and was named the No. 1 contender in the division.
Makhachev was critical of Oliveira losing the championship due to missing weight. "He is not a professional," he said.
The No. 4 contender in the division is confident that he can finish Oliveira and would hope to do so by grappling, Oliveira's area of strength.
The 30-year-old also brushed off the idea of a widely anticipated bout between Oliveira and his longtime friend and former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
"We don't have to say Khabib is going to beat Charles," Makhachev said. "I'm going to beat Charles. And everybody is going to understand. "