Islam Makhachev not interested in Max Holloway matchup: ‘Maybe if he wins his next fight’

Islam Makhachev could see himself fighting Max Holloway at some point down the line, but not in the immediate future.

The UFC lightweight champion is currently booked to headline UFC 302 on June 1 against Dustin Poirier. Holloway delivered a highlight-reel, buzzer-beater knockout of Justin Gaethje earlier this month at UFC 300 and certainly has a case to get a lightweight title opportunity, but Makhachev doesn’t have the new BMF titleholder on his radar at the moment.

“If he beats a couple more guys in my division, we can fight,” Makhachev told the New York Post. “I don’t want to give him chance now because I have some contenders who I have to beat. Now I have Dustin, after we’ll have Arman [Tsarukyan]. I think I’ll have some [work] in my division, he has [work] in his division.

“Maybe if he wins his next fight. Maybe [if] he beats [Ilia] Topuria, and I finish all of my two fights, maybe.”

Makhachev captured the title when he stopped Charles Oliveira at UFC 280 in October 2022, then defended it twice against then featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, winning a decision at UFC 284 in MMA Fighting’s 2023 Fight of the Year, and then delivering a thunderous head kick knockout eight months later at UFC 294.

After facing Volkanovski twice, Makhachev thinks it’s only fair he gets his opportunity at champ-champ status before facing another former featherweight champion for his title.

“My dream fight, I have to fight for the next division, 170,” Makhachev said. “I have to fight Leon Edwards.

“I already give some chances from the 145 [division], it’s why I need my chance for the second belt.”