Makhachev (22-1 MMA, 11-1 UFC) is scheduled to face Oliveira (33-8 MMA, 21-8 UFC) in the UFC 280 main event on Oct. 22 at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
Dariush (21-4-1 MMA, 15-4-1 UFC) fights Mateusz Gamrot (21-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) on the same card in a pivotal lightweight clash. But Nurmagomedov thinks former lightweight champion Oliveira won’t show up and Dariush will step in against his protegee instead.
“I just think Charles Oliveira will not show up in Abu Dhabi and the UFC will replace Charles with Beneil Dariush. Regardless of who the opponent will be, @MAKHACHEVMMA is on his way to becoming the best in the world #ufc280.”
I just think Charles Oliveira will not show up in Abu Dhabi and the UFC will replace Charles with Beneil Dariush.
— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) September 16, 2022
In a recent interview with MMA Fighting, Dariush said his manager told him that he’ll be serving as a backup for the vacant lightweight title fight between Oliveira and Makhachev.
“That’s what Ali (Abdelaziz) told me – I was the backup for this,” Dariush said. “Of course (I’ll make 155 pounds). It’s not that hard. I make 156. Last time in Texas (at UFC 262), I was pretty much 155 when I fought.”
Regardless of whom he fights, Makhachev is oozing confidence. He predicts a third-round finish of Oliveira.
“First round warm up, second round drag him to deep water, third round get business done Inshallah
Can’t wait for Oct 22 @ufc.”
— Makhachev Islam (@MAKHACHEVMMA) September 14, 2022
Another fighter who plans on serving as a backup for the vacant lightweight title fight is UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, who’s eyeing another belt. When Dana White was asked about Volkanovski’s plans, the UFC president appeared to have no issues with that and responded “sure.”