Khabib makes confident claim about Islam Makhachev vs Charles Oliveira title fight

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UFC lightweight contender Islam Makhachev has been tipped to take on Charles Oliveira  (Getty Images)
UFC lightweight contender Islam Makhachev has been tipped to take on Charles Oliveira (Getty Images)

Khabib Nurmagomedov has backed Islam Makhachev to beat Charles Oliveira inside three rounds if the two lightweights meet in a title fight.

Makhachev has assembled a compelling resume and emerged as one of the top contenders for the lightweight crown after winning his last ten fights.

Oliveira was stripped of the UFC belt after failing to make weight ahead of his encounter with Justin Gaethje at UFC 274.

The Brazilian decisively submitted Gaethje in the first round at the event, and could now take on Makhachev in an attempt to regain the now vacant title.

Nurmagomedov believes that regardless of Oliveira’s performance in Phoenix last weekend, his fellow Russian would be favourite for any meeting between the pair.

“My prediction is a maximum three rounds, no matter how good he is, Islam is better than him,” the retired 33-year-old wrote on Instagram. “Just remember these words.”

Nurmagomedov held the lightweight title for more than 1000 days between 2018 and his retirement in March of last year.

He closed his career undefeated as a professional mixed martial artist, and has since helped guide compatriot Makhachev.

The 30-year-old was due to take on Beneil Dariush in February but instead beat Bobby Green after his original opponent was forced to withdraw with an ankle injury.

Oliveira thinks a rescheduled encounter between the pair should take place to decide who would then meet the Brazilian for the vacant title.

“I think the reality is, Makhachev has to fight Dariush first,” Oliveira told Trocacao Franca.

“They both have to fight and then we’ll see who we’re fighting or not. Makhachev is super tough and deserves all the respect in the world. Dariush is also super tough and has a great team.

“Everyone I beat, I’ve made it pretty clear. I never let it go the distance, I always finish them. Makhachev and Dariush are the two guys I haven’t fought yet and they both have to make this fight happen. Maybe [the next contender] comes from this fight. The thing is, it makes no difference to me. I’ll be ready. The champion’s name is Charles Oliveira.”

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