Despite reports that we could be seeing a lightweight title rematch between Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira early into the new year, it now seems that Makhachev will not be fighting until March, at the earliest.
Makhachev's manager @AliAbdelaziz00 tells ESPN he has informed the UFC the earliest Makhachev will be ready to defend his title is March 9.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) November 5, 2023
Earlier this week, reports surfaced that we could be seeing Makhachev vs. Oliveira II on the first UFC PPV card of the year in January. Unfortunately, these reports were found to be untrue, as Ali Abdelaziz, Makhachev’s manager, stated to ESPN that his fighter will not be defending his title until March 9th, at the very earliest.
The news of the lightweight title rematch between Makhachev and Oliveira possibly taking place at UFC 297 in January was originally reported by Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting, but Abdelaziz was quick to aggressively debunk his report. Helwani was not prepared to take the high road, though, firing back with a jab of his own.
The current plan – though not finalized just yet – is to have Islam Makhachev x Charles Oliveira 2 – headline UFC 297. That event, while not officially announced yet, is currently slated to Jan. 20 in Toronto.
The original plan for that main was Volkanovski x Topuria, but now…
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) November 4, 2023
10-8 round for Ariel Helwani pic.twitter.com/Ze4opAvwx1
— Mostly MMA (@MostlyMMA) November 5, 2023
Social media drama aside, the fact remains that fans will have to wait to see the potential lightweight title rematch. Additionally, January’s UFC 297 in Toronto has yet to have a main event announced.