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Islam Makhachev made another compelling statement by submitting Dan Hooker in two minutes and 35 seconds at UFC 267, with ex-champ Khabib Nurmagomedov leading the hype as his potential successor demanded a title fight afterwards.

On a night when Khamzat Chimaev had already provided one lightning finish against Li Jingliang, Makhachev entered the octagon to the sound of the crowd chanting his name against rangier opponent Hooker.

The Russian moved the action to the canvas almost instantly, then threatened to break Hooker’s right arm as he pinned the New Zealander in an unassailable grip.

While Hooker looked understandably disconsolate as he contemplated his crushing defeat, Makhachev was embraced by fan favorite Hasbulla and UFC legend Nurmagomedov, as well as speaking to promotion president Dana White.

Few prizes would be on offer for guessing how his exchange with White went. “Now it’s time,” he insisted.

“Before, it was like [fighting against] top 11, top 15 fighters, but this guy was [ranked] number six.

“How many fights [have I won]? Nine-fight winning streak? I’m ready for a title fight.

“Please, anyone – it doesn’t matter who, because this division now is a little bit asleep.”

Analyzing his dismantling of vanquished Hooker, Makhachev said: “I knew when I took him down, I could finish him because my grappling level is much better than all these guys in this division. 

“This is MMA, you know. MMA ground game, I have the best in the division. All these [other title contenders] are old. They have fought for the title many times.

“They lose, win – they come to make business. But I am coming to take this belt and keep this belt for many years.”

Beaming Nurmagomedov raised his arms as Makhachev spoke before embracing the winner and posing for a picture alongside a team including his former trainer, Javier Mendez.

The revered retiree nuzzled cherubic social media sensation Hasbulla in his arms for the impromptu photoshoot – and Makhachev soon followed suit, holding his diminutive supporter aloft as he savoured his latest eye-catching victory.

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