Islam Makhachev’s coach believes Michael Chandler is overlooking his opportunities whilst criticizing the former

Makhachev is 22-1 in his overall MMA career with wins over the likes of Dan Hooker, Bobby Green, Thiago Moises, Drew Dober, Arman Tsarukyan and many more.

Islam Makhachev & Javier Mendez- Michael Chandler
Islam Makhachev & Javier Mendez- Michael Chandler

Just because Islam Makhachev is the betting favourite in his next fight against Charles Oliveira, doesn’t mean that he is not counted out. The MMA community, largely the fighters, backs the fact that the underdog will rise to the occasion and Oliveira will claim his rightful throne back to the top of what is said by many as the most dangerous division of the UFC roster. Both Oliveira and Makhachev are facing each other at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi.

In an interview with Submission Radio, Makhachev‘s coach and the face of American Kickboxing Academy, Javier Mendez talks about preparing Makhachev for Oliveira and why Oliveira’s ground game won’t be a problem for the former, the Khabib vs Charles GOAT debate and much more. In the midst of all, coach Mendez reacts to Michael Chandler’s comments on questioning Makhachev’s list of wins going into getting the UFC title shot.

“Michael Chandler comes into the UFC, he has one fight, one win, he gets the title shot,” says Mendez. “Michael Chandler is a very entertaining fighter, very charismatic and therefore he gets a lot of opportunities that other people feel are not warranted, but they are warranted… Islam had to win fights and remember one thing, he didn’t choose opponents, opponents chose not to fight him…” he continued.

Also Read: Is Islam Makhachev the bogeyman of UFC? Fans chime in on interesting debate

Besides Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira, what’s up with the rest of the UFC lightweight division

Charles Oliveira x Islam Makhachev
Charles Oliveira x Islam Makhachev

The state of the lightweight division is pretty much active and sorted, to say the least. Despite all the chaos the 155 lbs fighters create inside the Octagon, the situation of matchmaking outside the Octagon, which usually gets chaotic in itself like fighting, seems pretty fine. In the same fight card as Makhachev and Oliveira’s, Beneil Dariush will face Mateusz Gamrot on his return to the Octagon nearly after a 17-month layoff.

Former title challengers, Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler will settle their seemingly bad-blooded relationship as fellow competitors on the night of UFC 281. Arman Tsarukyan, the man against whom Makhachev had the toughest win of his career, is getting back inside the Octagon on this December against Damir Ismagulov. Tsarukyan is coming off a tough loss to Mateusz Gamrot, who together made a fight that exceeded all the limits of conceptual grappling at its best.

Also Read: Kelvin Gastelum returns for his ‘mission for gold’ as he comes out of a 16-month layoff in January 2023 against Imavov

What do you make of coach Mendez’s comments on Chandler criticising Makhachev’s fight record? Who do you think wins between Makhachev and Oliveira come UFC 280? Do you think Makhachev’s legacy will be as great as his mentor, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s when it’s all said and done? What are your picks of winners for the rest of the aforementioned significant fights in the lightweight division?

Also Read: “She’s not made weight” – Dana White gives closure to Aspen Ladd after the latter got cut from the UFC

Abhai Singh Tanwar is MMA writer at FirstSportz. He is a combat sports enthusiast who was a Taekwondo practitioner for a decade and practiced MMA for six months. Other than combat sports, hobbies and interests include listening music, writing poems, etc. Previously have written content for Spirit for Youth Foundation and The Happy Company.