Makhachev (25-1 MMA, 14-1 UFC) knocked out Volkanovski (26-3 MMA, 13-2 UFC) with a head kick in the first round of their title-fight rematch last Saturday at UFC 294. Volkanovski stepped in on short notice to replace Oliveira, who was forced out due to a cut.
Oliveira (34-9 MMA, 22-9 UFC) was impressed with the strides Makhachev made in his striking, especially his kicking game.
“This only goes to show with the things that I’ve said before, the evolution of Islam’s game standing up,” Oliveira said through an interpreter on “The MMA Hour.” “I mean, what a read that he had of that fight to start kicking low and just ended up kicking high. So, I mean, kudos to him.
“All props to him and also all the props, as well, to Volkanovski for actually taking that fight on short notice. I mean, all respect to both of them. They’re great fighters, and obviously Islam is a great champion and all respect to both fighters. It shows his evolution as an MMA fighter.”
UFC CEO Dana White initially said the plan is to rebook Makhachev vs. Oliveira 2, then said it will depend on how long it takes for Oliveira’s cut to heal. While he expects their rematch to be rebooked, Oliveira said he’s yet to receive a definitive word.
“No one has said anything,” Oliveira said. “They know who I am, they know what I’m all about, they know that I’m going to train to become a champion. I’m training, and I’m getting ready for it. They know what I’m all about. I don’t fight for money. I fight to make history, and I fight for my legacy.
“So, I’m going to continue to train, continue to get prepared and try to get up to 100 percent just like I was right before this fight. When I’m at 100 percent, that’s when I’ll be ready to fight. … I want the belt. Whoever’s got that belt, it doesn’t matter who has it. I want that belt.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 294.