The answer to why Islam Makhachev didn’t get the short-notice fight with Rafael dos Anjos that he’d been calling for this past weekend at UFC 272 remains a mystery, with the UFC and the fighter himself having a completely different version of what happened.
If UFC President Dana White is to be believed then it was Makhachev who ended up turning down the fight he’d been calling for just days earlier.
“When I went to bed one of the nights, I thought it was done,” Dana White told Barstool Sports. “Woke up the next morning and found out they turned it down. Islam [turned it down]. No clue [why].”
Meanwhile, his intended opponent dos Anjos has claimed that the real reason the fight didn’t happen is that Makhachev had demanded $1 million.
However, now Makhachev has denied that was the case and says it was the UFC who decided not to have him fight RDA.
“I don’t want to talk about this, very small. Nothing big,” Makhachev told ESPN. “Not million dollars, 100 percent not million dollars.
“Dana [White] said I turned down this fight but Monday morning when I wake up, I just saw some news like Fiziev had COVID, the fight is canceled and I’d been in California on vacation and I wake up and call my manager,” he added. “‘Hey, Ali [Abdelaziz]. I saw some news. Please call UFC and say I’m ready for take this fight.’ I asked about some conditions but very small conditions, nothing big that wasn’t possible to do. UFC [didn’t] call me, not Ali call me, I wake up and I call Ali and I tell him talk with UFC please, I want this fight. But UFC not do it. That’s why the fight didn’t happen and that’s it.”
Prior to this debacle Dana White had appeared to be touting Makhachev for a title shot next, but afterwards he seems to have changed his tune and now wants him to fight Beneil Dariush first instead.
That’s something Makhachev says he’s willing to do, despite having already amassed a 10-fight winning streak, but it’s left him questioning who is worthy of getting the title shot before him.
“…Now Dana says, ‘Islam has to fight vs. Dariush.’ I have no problem fighting him. But who has to fight for the title next? I don’t know. [Dustin] Poirier? He lost many times. [Michael] Chandler lost. [Dan] Hooker, Tony Ferguson, everybody—RDA has four fights, just two wins. [Gregor] Gillespie has fought one time in three years. Who has to fight for the title? I don’t know.”