UFC champion Islam Makhachev not excited by potential Max Holloway matchup – not yet, at least

UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev doesn’t think it’s the right time to fight former featherweight champ Max Holloway.

Holloway (26-7 MMA, 22-7 UFC) knocked out Justin Gaethje with a historic last-second finish at UFC 300, eliminating “The Highlight” from the 155-pound title race.

Makhachev (25-1 MMA, 14-1 UFC) defends his title against Dustin Poirier (30-8 MMA, 22-7 UFC) in the UFC 302 main event June 1 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. His focus is on Poirier then Arman Tsarukyan, who cemented himself as No. 1 contender by beating Charles Oliveira.

“If he beats a couple more guys in my division, we can fight,” Makhachev said in an interview with the New York Post. “I don’t want to give him chance now because I have some contenders who I have to beat. Now I have Dustin; after we have Arman. I think I have some job in my division; he has job in his division. Maybe if he wins his next fight. Maybe he beats (Ilia) Topuria, and I finish all my two fights, maybe.”

If it were up to Makhachev, he would move up to welterweight to challenge Leon Edwards – a fight that was offered to him at UFC 300. Makhachev declined as he would have had to prep for the fight while observing Ramadan.

“My dream fight, I have to fight in the next division, 170,” Makhachev said. “I have to fight Leon Edwards. I already gave a chance to fighters at 145. That’s why I need my chance at a second belt. …Honestly, I don’t have any exciting fights, because Dustin has just one-fight win streak.

“And we have Arman, but I already beat this guy. I don’t have some job in my division, in my opinion, honestly. And I think I have a chance. They have to give me the chance for a second belt because I already beat the old guys.”

For more on the cards, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 302.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie