Michael Chandler does not believe that Islam Makhachev has earned the hype around him. Makhachev is favored to beat Charles Oliveira for the UFC lightweight championship at UFC 280 despite not having fought the same level of competition as the former champion.
Makhachev (22-1) is looked at by many as the next iteration of Khabib Nurmagomedov. His suffocating grappling has earned him a 10-fight winning streak against the likes of Dan Hooker, Bobby Green, Thiago Moises and Arman Tsarukyan. Makhachev has fought solid competition, but he reached the status of top contender without clashing with the lightweight elite.
"Nothing against Islam, you say he looks great, you say he looks unbeatable at times, but he hasn't really fought anybody," Chandler told MMA Fighting. "That's really the truth. He beat No. 14 and then he beat Dan Hooker, who was on a three or four-fight losing streak... Now people will say, 'well, one of your wins was against Dan Hooker, what are you talking about?' I fought Dan Hooker at a different time. He had just gone 25 minutes with Dustin Poirier, who at that time was the No. 2 lightweight on the entire planet.
"I'm not saying that [Islam] not that good... We just can't say that he's that good yet. It's premature praise."
Makhachev appeared to have caught wind of Chandler's remarks. On Monday, a tweet posted from Makhachev's Twitter was critical of Chandler. Makhachev pulled a mirror out on Chandler, highlighting that Chandler'sthat is now on an 0-5 run.
"Your only two wins in UFC [are] Hooker who came out of loss, and Tony who has five losses in the row now," the tweet read. "Please shut up and stay in line."
at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates on Saturday, Oct. 22.