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Paul Felder Questions Islam Makhachev's Move to Welterweight

UFC analyst Paul Felder has voiced skepticism about lightweight champion Islam Makhachev's expressed desire to challenge welterweight titleholder Leon Edwards, believing that Makhachev should focus on defending his own title before considering a move up in weight.

Felder's comments come in the wake of Makhachev's callout of Edwards following his dominant performance against Colby Covington at UFC 296 earlier this month. Despite Makhachev's interest in a champion vs. champion fight, Felder sees no urgency for such a matchup at this time.

According to Felder, Makhachev has a ready-made challenger in Belal Muhammad, who is eager to face Edwards for the welterweight title. Felder emphasized the importance of Makhachev consolidating his position as a dominant champion in the lightweight division before contemplating a move up in weight.

Felder cited the examples of past double champions like Daniel Cormier, who had to work their way up to earn the opportunity to compete in multiple weight classes. He expressed concern that in today's MMA landscape, there is a rush to pursue multiple titles without establishing a strong reign in one division first.

"Can we get dominant champions before you all start wanting to fight for other belts?"

Felder questioned, highlighting the trend of fighters seeking to become double champions without fully solidifying their status in their respective weight classes.

While Makhachev has expressed his eagerness to pursue the welterweight title, recent developments suggest that a potential matchup with Edwards may not materialize immediately. Edwards has shown interest in a rematch with Belal Muhammad, while Makhachev has been engaged in discussions with Justin Gaethje regarding a title bout in the lightweight division.

As the situation unfolds, it remains to be seen whether Makhachev will prioritize defending his lightweight title or pursue a move up to welterweight in pursuit of another championship opportunity.


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