The trainer of Islam Makhachev believes that a rematch with Alexander Volkanovski is likely, particularly in light of the most recent weekend.
Volkanovski outclassed Yair Rodriguez at UFC 290 to successfully defend his featherweight championship. In addition to reestablishing "The Great" as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, Volkanovski's first fight back since dropping a decision to Makhachev in their lightweight matchup at UFC 284 also piqued coach Javier Mendez's interest in the rematch with his student.
That was a beautiful display of a guy that’s super smart, great IQ. Let’s see what happens. Let’s see if they give him to Islam or they give someone else to Islam. But somewhere down the line, we’re going to have to fight him again and I look forward to it because it’ll be a great fight. Definitely after that performance.”
Despite the fact that nothing is set in stone, all indications point to Makhachev defending his lightweight championship at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi; the opponent, however, is still up in the air. The most likely opponent initially appeared to be former lightweight champion Charles Oliveira, but "Do Bronx" recently claimed he wouldn't be ready to contest in October, and Mendez claims the champion is unlikely to agree to a request to move that fight until later in the year.
“Oliveira is talking about how he wants to fight in November or December,” Mendez said. “Well, he’s not going to get to decide when he fights for the title. The UFC decides that. I believe they’ve got Islam scheduled on Oct. 21 because they need him for Abu Dhabi. I believe that’s 100 percent the fight that makes sense for Islam to stay there. Who the opponent is? I don’t know. It could be Oliveira still. Oliveira could say, ‘Never mind, I’ll fight him in Abu Dhabi.’ I don’t know.”