Islam Makhachev certainly open to fight Conor McGregor after UFC 302: ‘People have to be stupid to say no’

If the stars align accordingly, Islam Makhachev has no problem fighting Conor McGregor. In fact, the UFC lightweight champion believes he’d be a fool not to.

In order for that to happen, though, each man has first orders of business to take care of, starting with Makhachev (25-1 MMA, 14-1 UFC), who defends his 155-pound title against Dustin Poirier in the UFC 302 main event June 1. Four weeks later, McGregor (22-6 MMA, 10-4 UFC) makes his highly anticipated return to the octagon against former Bellator champion Michael Chandler in the UFC 303 headliner June 29.

Even though, as of this moment, McGregor hasn’t won a fight in more than four years, hasn’t won a lightweight bout since his title victory almost eight years ago and is nowhere to be found in the official UFC rankings, Makhachev is willing to abide by the old adage that if it makes dollars it makes sense.

Fighting the UFC’s biggest star for a likely gigantic payday? That’s a no-brainer for the champ.

“People have to be stupid to say no,” Makhachev said on Shadow Lion’s “Pound 4 Pound” podcast with Kamaru Usman and Henry Cejudo. “Of course I will fight with him.”

Makhachev indicated that his next fight after UFC 303 would likely take place in October (in Abu Dhabi) or November, but for a McGregor showdown, he’d be willing to be available in August or September.

While not so easy to sell based on merit, a fight between Makhachev and McGregor would be easy to sell from a storyline standpoint given McGregor’s history with Makhachev trainer and UFC Hall of Famer Khabib Nurmagomedov. Years of bad blood culminated with Nurmagomedov submitting McGregor in October 2019 at UFC 229 – the highest-selling pay-per-view in the promotion’s history – and then jumping the cage to attack McGregor’s corner after his victory.

From Makhachev’s standpoint, he also believes he’d have no trouble with McGregor in the cage.

“Brother, easy. This guy not same,” Makhachev said. “I don’t want to, like, make him look bad, but everybody know this guy not same. Before, yeah, for sure. When he was fighting with Khabib, he was in a good shape. He (was) a high-level fighter. But right now, too much alcohol, too much whiskey.”

For Makhachev, that’s easy money.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie