The current pound-for-pound number one speaks out about the featherweight champion

Days after being crowned the UFC featherweight champion at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Ilia Topuria (15-0-0) discussed his future during a packed press conference in Madrid. Islam Makhachev (25-1-0) came up in the conversation. “I want to fight again before the end of the year and after that, my next target would be Islam Makhachev,” were the words of the Spanish-Georgian fighter. However, the Russian has sidestepped Topuria’s challenge.

The latest remarks from the pound-for-pound number one emphasize this: “He has a tough fight in his division which is Movsar. I think Movsar can sell it because he’s a bad matchup for him in terms of style.” A few weeks ago, he positioned his compatriot against Topuria… but it’s a fight that doesn’t excite the public.

Nevertheless, Evloev himself has been warming up to the potential fight over the weeks. Before UFC 298 between Volkanovski and Topuria took place, the Russian sent a clear message: “I don’t care if it’s against Volkanovski in Australia or against Topuria in Spain. I’ll be ready.” And days later, he focused on Ilia: “Congratulations to the new champion, I’m coming for you to take the belt.”

But just minutes after bringing down ‘Volk’ in the Honda Center octagon, Topuria dismissed the option in a press conference: “It’s a good fight for me, I’d love it, but he only has eight fights in the UFC, all eight by decision, no submission, no KO. Of the eight decisions, four are split. Come on, he needs to finish someone. Maybe they can find someone in his village or he can fight his father and finish him, I don’t know, but he needs to finish someone because with his record, he seems good, he’s undefeated, but he hasn’t finished anyone.”

While Makhachev points to other matches (Poirier, for example), the Russian does not hesitate to praise Ilia Topuria while dodging his challenges. He doesn’t offer lengthy phrases, but he does give some words.

“He’s good, he has good boxing,” are the praises from the Dagestan champion. At the same time, he offers advice to the new UFC champion: “I think he should focus on his division… but we’ll see what Topuria continues to talk about.”