Paul Felder implores Islam Makhachev to stay at lightweight amid double-champ talk: “Stay in your freaking division”

By Josh Evanoff - December 29, 2023

UFC analyst Paul Felder sees no reason why Islam Makhachev needs to challenge Leon Edwards, yet.

Islam Makhachev, Paul Felder

‘Rocky’ is fresh off his return earlier this month at UFC 296 against Colby Covington. There, Edwards turned in a dominant performance, scoring a unanimous decision win over ‘Chaos’. While his second title defense was an impressive one to many, Islam Makhachev didn’t exactly feel threatened.

Following UFC 296, the lightweight champion called to face Leon Edwards in 2024. While a potential champion vs. champion fight sounds fun to many, that doesn’t make sense to one Paul Felder. Speaking on a recent edition of his Round-Up podcast alongside Michael Chiesa, ‘The Irish Dragon’ discussed Islam Makhachev’s comments.

There, Paul Felder stated that the Russian absolutely didn’t need to move up to welterweight. The analyst then listed a plethora of reasons why Islam Makhachev vs. Leon Edwards wasn’t needed. First and foremost, ‘Rocky’ has a ready-made challenger in the form of Belal Muhammad. ‘Remember the Name’ was in attendance at UFC 296, and hopes to face the British champion next.

Continuing, Paul Felder also implored Islam Makhachev to get more title defenses before moving up. The commentator also listed other double champions, such as Daniel Cormier, who had to work for the opportunity. According to ‘The Irish Dragon’, everyone is getting handed the chance these days, and he’s not a fan.


Islam Makhachev, UFC, Alexander Volkanovski, UFC 294

Paul Felder tells Islam Makhachev to stay at lightweight amid double-champ talk

“Leon already saying all that he doesn’t think that he [Muhammad] should get the fight,” Paul Felder stated during a recent round-up discussion following UFC 296. “Why is everyone- like why do we all gotta crap on, like, we’ve established that this is the number one contender. You’re also saying you want to break Georges St-Pierre’s record.” (h/t MMA News)

He continued, Then we got Islam Makhachev out there saying that he should be next for the welterweight belt. Guys, stay in your freaking divisions, reign over your division. Can we get dominant champions before you all start wanting to fight for other belts?”

“It didn’t used to be like this,” Paul Felder concluded, discussing Islam Makhachev’s recent comments. “The guys that did this in the beginning, obviously Conor’s an exception, he did it, it was craziness, right? He was a superstar. ‘DC’ did because he earned it and was over 205, right, Amanda Nunes earned it. Now, it’s just like everybody and their mother wants to be a double champ.”

While Islam Makhachev badly wants the welterweight title opportunity, it seems that Paul Felder will get his wish. In recent days, Leon Edwards has shown interest in booking a rematch with Belal Muhammad, despite his initial hesitancy. Meanwhile, the lightweight champion has been busy, going back and forth with Justin Gaethje about a title bout.

‘The Highlight’ last scored a knockout win over Dustin Poirier in July at UFC 291. With that finish, he hopes to score a title shot against Makhachev next year. However, that potential bout is far from official, as of now.

Do you agree with these comments from UFC commentator Paul Felder? Or do you think Islam Makhachev has earned a fight against Leon Edwards?


Islam Makhachev Paul Felder