Islam Makhachev’s long-time coach Javier Mendez has revealed that he actually would prefer to see the lightweight champion to rematch Alexander Volkanovski after his upcoming fight with Charles Oliveira rather than going up against newly crowned ‘BMF’ champ Justin Gaethje.
“What I would want? I’d want Alex [Volkanovski],” Mendez told Submission Radio. “My personal pick, I’d want Alex. And then after Alex, if we’re successful, I’d want the welterweight title.”
That goes against the talk from the likes of UFC commentator Jon Anik, who recently suggested that Gaethje’s big head-kick KO finish of Dustin Poirier had put him at the front of the queue to fight Makhachev.
However, Mendez feels that there’s still unfinished business with featherweight champ Volkanovski, despite the fact that Makhachev already beat him by unanimous decision back in February.
“Well, because there’s still unfinished business with Alex in my mind,” Mendez said. “There’s still unfinished business. There’s no clarity. And in our eyes, it was clear that there’s just too much uncertainty. And on top of that, I hate to say it, but that fight delivered, that fight delivered.
“It was supposed to be, you know, one of the great fights between two greats, and it turned out to be exactly that. Two champions got in there and it was a championship-quality caliber fight. But there’s still undecidedness on the other side. And I want to prove that we are the better fighters. So, I myself personally would want that fight for that reason. It’s a challenge. Because Alex is a huge challenge. And I like that.”
Of course Makhachev has another big rematch already lined up next against former lightweight champ Charles Oliveira at UFC 294 to get through first, so nothing is set in stone at this stage.