Former UFC Lightweight champion Charles Oliveira believes that Islam Makhachev is in title contention because of the backing from Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The Brazilian, in a recent interview, noted that having someone like Khabib backing you is a big boost.
"In reality, I think that he has his merits. He has been on a long winning streak. If I'm not mistaken, it has been 11 in a row, right? Or something like that. But, on the other hand, Khabib [Nurmagomedov] also has a huge weight. Having that man on your back, whether you like it or not, gives it weight. He retired undefeated and all the history of what he has done. So, whether you like it or not, it does have weight,” Oliveira noted [h/t Sportskeeda].
He further went on to add that in an ideal scenario, Makhachev should have won one more fight to be in title contention and is open to fighting the Russian.
"But in my mind, I think that he should have to do one more fight in order to fight for the belt. But if the UFC wants that fight and if Islam wants it so much and if it's a good moment... If he wants to fight at the end of the year, it doesn't matter if it'll be in Brazil or not, it makes no difference,” the former champion added.
Islam Makhachev has been on an impressive run in the UFC and has been on a long undefeated streak just like Oliveira. He had called for a title shot after his last win and is expected to fight Oliveira for the vacant UFC lightweight title.
What do you think of the statements from Oliveira? Let us know in the comments below.