After the retirement of Khabib Nurmagomedov becomes official and after he leaves the position of UFC lightweight champion, a fierce fight will begin for his successor. In the foreground, of course, are the participants in the main fight of the UFC 257 event, which some even believe will eventually become a belt fight, but Khabib has mentioned another name.
The person very competent to comment on the whole situation is former two-time UFC champion, Khabib’s teammate and analyst of the year winner, Daniel Cormier. He spoke about the situation at the top of the lightweight category during a guest appearance in the South China Morning Post, and in fact, opened it all up by referring to Khabib’s statement.
"He said you have three guys he thinks can succeed him. Conor, Poirier, and Islam Makhachev. I don't think he thought his title should go to the winner of this fight, but he thinks it will come with time. But we must not forget "Charles Oliveira."
"What he did to Tony Ferguson is impressive. We have to get him in. But Khabib knows what he's talking about. Who knows the division better than the man who's been its champion for the last few years," Daniel said.
He was then asked who he considered being the most serious fighter of the above and who he would like to see with the title, and he did not hesitate. "I'm a guy who supports his own, of course, I want it to be Islam Makhachev.
I really want it and I believe it, but not just because he's one of my friends and teammates. I believe he could be the most talented fighter in the world."
Cornier on Makhachev
"He has everything which is necessary to create problems for many,” DC said of the 29-year-old Dagestani, whom Khabib also called his successor, and his father Abdulmanap considered him as such.
Cormier added: "Because of the way he came to the UFC and because of the defeat in his second UFC fight against Adrian Martins, he doesn't make headlines like Khabib. Some even think his style isn't that aggressive.
But trust me, he has absolutely everything he needs." "He is very skilled and versatile in fighting on his feet, and you remember how many shortcomings Khabib had at the beginning of his career. Islam is much better today than Khabib was then.
Islam is there and ready to move to the top of the division." Islam Makhachev's biggest problem is more than rare appearances. He’s been in the UFC for a full six years and has only fought eight times so far.
That would mean doing the fight on average every nine months, and that’s is not enough for someone looking to the top. If in such a competition he wants to become a serious candidate for the top, Islam should at least three fights in 2021 against fighters better ranked than him.
Namely, he is currently in 13th place in the list of challengers in the light category, but so far he has not met any ranked fighters. He was contracted to fight Rafael Dos Anjos twice last year, but each of them canceled once due to illness. Who knows, maybe the former champion will be a fighter with whom UFC matchmakers will rely on third luck.