It was billed as a champion vs. champion bout with pound-for-pound supremacy on the line but despite winning a razor-thin decision in Perth, Australia in the UFC 284 main event, Islam Makhachev is still looking upwards when it comes to the rankings.
Alex Volkanovski, the dominant UFC featherweight champion and pound-for-pound number one fighter in the organisation, retained his status at the summit of the P4P rankings when the new list was issued this week despite coming up short late on Saturday night (or Sunday morning, depending on where you are).
— UFC (@ufc) February 12, 2023
It was even noted by the UFC social media team that Makhachev had “achieved his dream” at topping the sport’s P4P rankings shortly after the fight’s conclusion — but the rankings experts apparently saw it otherwise, and retained Volkanovski’s status as the UFC’s top-ranked fighter across all weight classes.
And Makhachev isn’t particularly happy about it.
“About the rankings, I never expected justice and still don’t,” Makhachev said in a social media video. “Because we saw the example with other fighters, [Magomed] Ankalaev, Petr Yan. [We] saw the attitude towards us, always. The main thing, I flew 13,000 kilometres there, defeated their champion. They raised my hand, and with a raised head, confidently with the belt flew home.”
Makhachev is likely referencing the December fight between his compatriot Magomed Ankalaev and Jan Blachowicz for the then-vacant UFC light heavyweight title which was declared a draw, and prompted fury from UFC president Dana White for what he saw as an unimpressive outing from both.
Petr Yan also came up short in another close decision against Sean O’Malley last year.