Makhachev (18-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) returns to competition Saturday for the principle time since September 2019 when he meets Drew Dober (23-9 MMA, 10-4 UFC) on the principle card of the loaded event. The Dagestani fighter has spent a lot of his profession in his teammate and mentor Nurmagomedov’s shadow, nonetheless now that “The Eagle” is curiously retired, it’s a recent generation.
“I non-public after this combat, if I fracture Drew, the entire lot goes to commerce,” Makhachev told newshounds, including MMA Junkie, on Wednesday at UFC 259 media day. “It’s going to be a seven-combat engage traipse and now not quite rather a lot of of us hang a engage traipse like this. The subsequent one will perchance be top five, top 10, and I’m going to expose my skills.”
Despite the truth that Makhachev has been out of motion for a truly long time, he intends to return with pressure. Dober has attach together some good wins of late to establish of dwelling himself for this bout, which used to be at first scheduled reduction in 2016 nonetheless fell aside on weigh-in day.
Both men hang advance a long methodology since then, nonetheless Makhachev restful thinks he has the dominant style in the matchup.
“He’s tough,” Makhachev stated. “He’s now not in the rankings. I non-public he’s No. 16. I do know he’s staunch on fable of I used to be supposed to combat with him in 2016. He has staunch striking, staunch conditioning, nonetheless I non-public I hang greater than him. … Truthfully I non-public this is easy road. I take him down, control. I non-public his wrestling is now not so staunch.”
If Makhachev will get his hand raised, he would hang the 2nd longest active UFC winning traipse at 155 pounds at the aid of most effective Charles Oliveira. He thinks that ought to restful attach him establish of dwelling for a smartly-known matchup and stated he likes the premise of struggling with frail UFC champ Rafael dos Anjos, whom he used to be twice booked against in 2020 earlier than health factors scratched it.
“Perhaps RDA (is next) on fable of he used to be supposed to be my ultimate opponent and we fracture the combat two times,” Makhachev stated. “Perhaps who’s free there. Perhaps Tony (Ferguson). Truthfully, it doesn’t matter. But when it’s someone from top five, I will almost certainly be satisfied.
“I jut need a couple more fights (for the title shot). That’s it. Now I actually feel I’m ready for all people on fable of all my lifestyles I’m working towards as champion. No one provides me distress from top 10.”
UFC 259 takes establish of dwelling at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The principle card streams on ESPN+ pay-per-survey following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+.