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Islam Makhachev reveals why he turned down offer to fight Leon Edwards

LockerRoom Team
15 March 2024

UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev has disclosed that he was presented with a tantalizing opportunity for a champion vs. champion bout at UFC 300 against UFC welterweight titleholder Leon Edwards. However, Makhachev had to decline the offer due to the observance of Ramadan, making it challenging for him to adequately prepare for such a significant fight.

The potential matchup between Makhachev and Edwards was anticipated to headline UFC 300, a milestone event for the promotion. A clash between the two champions would have been a fitting spectacle for the landmark occasion.

Speaking to MMA Junkie, Makhachev explained the logistical difficulties posed by Ramadan, a month-long period of fasting observed by Muslims worldwide. "One month with fasting, and it’s not possible to do training in Ramadan," Makhachev stated. "Training this time is very hard."

Despite his desire to compete, Makhachev humorously revealed that he attempted to negotiate a slight delay in UFC 300 to accommodate his training schedule. However, logistical constraints prevented the adjustment.

Expressing disappointment at missing out on the opportunity, Makhachev conveyed his eagerness for the dream matchup against Edwards. "Of course, (it makes me sad)," Makhachev admitted. "It’s a big deal, big fight with Leon Edwards for the second belt, but this time I miss the chance."

While the Edwards vs. Makhachev matchup couldn't materialize, UFC 300 remains stacked with three title fights: Alex Pereira defends his light heavyweight title against Jamahal Hill, Zhang Weili faces Yan Xiaonan for the women’s strawweight championship, and Justin Gaethje squares off against Max Holloway for the BMF title.

Looking ahead, Makhachev aims to return to action in June and has expressed interest in facing former interim champion Dustin Poirier. Although Makhachev acknowledges that Poirier may not be the most deserving contender, he views the matchup as an exciting prospect in the absence of other available contenders.

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With his eyes set on further title challenges in the future, Makhachev remains hopeful for another opportunity to pursue his championship aspirations.

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