This past Saturday on the main card of UFC 267, a featured contest took place in the lightweight division. Dagestani standout Islam Makhachev (21-1) took on “The Hangman” Dan Hooker (21-11) as both men looked to take a step towards the lightweight title.
Entering UFC 267, Makhachev had won eight consecutive bouts since his last loss. He’s looked more and more dominant every time he’s stepped in the cage. Hooker was the first time he was facing an opponent inside the top ten who looked like a legit threat.
The key to the entire fight was going to be whether or not Makhachev could land a takedown.
Well, we got our answer very quickly. Makhachev was able to catch a leg kick from Hooker in the opening minutes and he dragged him to the ground.
Once on the ground, it was all Makhachev. He moved into a dominant position and was able to lock in a kimura. Hooker tried to defend but was forced to tap and Makhachev got another dominant win in the UFC‘s lightweight division.
What’s next after UFC 267?
Makhachev made it clear that he believes he should be next for the UFC lightweight title. He pointed to the fact that Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler (Who fight this week at UFC 268) have already fought for the title before.
Next month, Charles Oliveira defends the lightweight crown against Dustin Poirier. So, will the UFC book Makhachev against the winner of one of those fights? Actually, I think there’s another opponent that makes more sense and that’s Beneil Dariush (21-4-1).
Dariush has now won seven straight fights himself. He’s currently ranked above Makhachev in the UFC’s lightweight rankings at the time of this article. Dariush would be a massive test for Makhachev given his background in wrestling and grappling.
I think the UFC is potentially going to book these two against each other. Makhachev and Dariush would provide a clear number one contender and it would provide a top contender who hasn’t challenged for the title.