Khabib Nurmagomedov says Justin Gaethje vs. Max Holloway ‘makes no sense,’ messes up lightweight title picture

Khabib Nurmagomedov does not understand what the UFC is doing.

In April, UFC 300 will take place in Las Vegas, Nev. and one of the most anticipated bouts of the evening will be a “BMF” title fight between lightweight contender Justin Gaethje and former featherweight champion Max Holloway. It’s a contest many believe could end up as the Fight of the Year but there is one major issue: Gaethje was the presumed next challenger for lightweight champion Islam Makhachev.

Makhachev intends to defend his title in June, most likely at the UFC’s debut in Saudi Arabia, but with Gaethje now booked against Holloway, and former lightweight champion Charles Oliveira booked against Arman Tsarukyan on the same night, that doesn’t leave Makhachev with a lot of options, at least so says his friend and teammate.

“All respect for Max Holloway, but I don’t know, and I don’t understand why UFC make this fight,” Nurmagomedov told MMA Junkie. “Justin Gaethje vs. Max Holloway, it makes no sense in my opinion. My opinion, Holloway is supposed to fight with [Ilia] Topuria next, maybe September. Justin Gaethje is supposed to fight with Islam in May or June, and Tsarukyan vs. Oliveira, they fight in April. Whoever wins that is supposed to fight the winner of Islam vs. Justin Gaethje, at the end of the year in Abu Dhabi. I think this makes more sense.”

Nurmagomedov is not alone in this line of thinking as some fans wondered what these bookings would mean for Makhachev. Topuria claiming the featherweight title further complicated things as Holloway also would have been a logical opponent for the new champion. Now everything is up in the air, but however it all shakes out, Khabib is confident in his protege.

“Now, Topuria will fight with who if Holloway loses?” Nurmagomedov said. “Movsar [Evloev] is the best option. I don’t know if Dana White will give him [a title shot]. My opinion, he deserves this. I don’t understand. It makes no sense why they don’t give Islam Justin Gaethje. Why they make him fight vs. Holloway.

“I don’t understand what UFC have planned, but Islam is ready to fight with anybody.”