Daniel Cormier: Islam Makhachev has an opportunity to 'run the gauntlet' in 2024


Daniel Cormier thinks 2024 could be a massive year for Islam Makhachev.

In a recent interview on a Russian news program, UFC lightweight champion Makhachev (25-1 MMA, 14-1 UFC) revealed that he plans on fighting three times next year – one of them being before Ramadan in March.

“I’m planning to fight before Ramadan,” Makhachev said. “I already informed the UFC that I’m ready to fight before Ramadan. I would like to have time to do three fights in 2024. I will train as much as possible, constantly keep in shape, and wait for a call from the management.”

Makhachev is coming off a first-round knockout of Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 294 this past October. Cormier mapped out what his 2024 could look like, starting with the projected rebooking of the Charles Oliveira rematch.

If successful, Cormier says Makhachev would be a shoe-in for Fighter of the Year.

“What do those fights look like? Charles Oliveira first, we know that,” Cormier said on his YouTube channel. “Dustin Poirier on one hand said he believes that if the Oliveira that fought him, that fought Gaethje, shows up to fight Makhachev, he thinks that Oliveira wins. But Say Makhachev gets it done in March (against Oliveira). … Who would be second? Justin Gaethje. Gaethje has made his intentions clear: He’s going to wait (for a title shot). I know Justin. I spend a lot of time with Justin.

“He wants this fight because he feels like he has a good style to fight Islam Makhachev. He feels like in the fight with Khabib (Nurmagomedov), he learned things that could lend itself to being successful against Makhachev. Don’t forget, Gaethje took that first round off of Khabib. That’s something not many people did at all. Third, I think we get Dustin Poirier. I think Islam Makhachev has an opportunity in the next year to run the gauntlet. Of all the most relevant lightweights that we have seen over the course of the last 10 years, he could fight Charles, Justin and Dustin all in a calendar year.”

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