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Islam Makhachev Targets Gaethje in Pursuit of Double Gold, Puts Rematches Aside



Fresh from his dominant reign in the lightweight division, Islam Makhachev sets his sights on a colossal challenge, eyeing a clash with top contender Justin Gaethje as he seeks to pursue a second championship belt and evade rematches within the division.


Following his decisive victory over Charles Oliveira in a spectacular display of skill and determination last October, Makhachev's resolve to venture into uncharted territories sees him prioritizing new contenders over rematches. With his initial rematch against Oliveira thwarted due to an unfortunate injury to the featherweight champion, Makhachev pivots toward new challenges, singling out Gaethje as a prospective opponent.


Expressing his intentions in a recent interview, Makhachev underscored the significance of exploring fresh matchups to establish himself as a multifaceted champion. 


"If you want to [be a champion] in a good way, you have to add new names," affirmed Makhachev. "There is Gaethje, who I would say deserved a fight. I think it would be more interesting to fight him. I think in March, maybe."


While Makhachev's recent victories showcased his dominance, including a win over the emerging talent Arman Tsarukyan, his focus has shifted toward securing a second title in a different weight class. Contemplating the pursuit of a second belt, Makhachev's ambition extends beyond the lightweight division, aiming to etch his name in the annals of history by conquering new horizons.


"The second belt is the fight of a dream. This is what motivates me at the moment," articulated Makhachev, emphasizing his aspiration to claim multiple titles and defend them successfully. 


Amidst the clamor for potential rematches and title defenses, Makhachev's hunger for bigger challenges resonates as he eyes the ultimate feat in his fighting journey. While Gaethje awaits a potential shot at the winner of Makhachev vs. Oliveira 2, the champion's aspirations transcend conventional challenges within his division. 


As Makhachev sets his sights on the monumental goal of acquiring dual championships and defending them, the landscape of his aspirations in the UFC propels him toward a path of unprecedented achievement and legacy-building.

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