Legendary referee John McCarthy, who stood at the origins of modern mixed martial arts, does not agree with the opinion that Islam Makhachev is the favorite in a potential confrontation with Charles Oliveira, who won an early victory over Justin Gaethje a week ago.
“Yes, I think that now Charles will beat Islam,” said “Big” John in the next episode of his podcast. “There is a big difference between Charles who fought Kevin Lee in 2019 and Charles who is entering the octagon now. And he became different again, beating Justin Gaethje last weekend. It’s all about confidence – with each fight, he believes more in himself and his abilities. He got to the point where he felt pretty confident trading punches on the stand with Gaethje and looking for opportunities to catch him.”
Note that the title chance of Islam Makhachev is not one hundred percent guaranteed, however, UFC President Dana White did not rule out that the Russian fighter and the Brazilian could play for the vacant UFC lightweight championship belt, which Oliveira lost by failing to cope with the weight race before the tournament.
Currently, Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev occupy the first and fourth lines in the UFC lightweight division rankings, respectively.