It’s no secret that 29-year-old Islam Makhachev (18-1, 7-1 UFC) is one of the most talented MMA fighters in the world. This guy is already destined to succeed his colleague Khabib Nurmagomedov and many see him at the top.
He could head for it this weekend at the UFC 259 event, where a fight against Drew Dober awaits him. It will also be his first appearance since September 2019, when he defeated Davi Ramos in Abu Dhabi. He will be accompanied by his training partner and mentor, Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The UFC (retired) lightweight champion does not hide the ambitions of their team, which are such that they see Islam at the top, where Khabib has been in recent years. And he openly announced it once again. "Everyone is talking about Dustin, Conor, Chandler, Gaethje, and Oliveira.
But by the end of the year that will change. I don't believe there is anyone right now who can defeat Islam Makhachev." "He will take over this division and rule it," Khabib told to ESPN, thus expressing great confidence in his friend and longtime teammate, adding: "I sincerely believe that his era is coming."
In addition, the late Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov also held the same view, arguing that Islam would take over the throne as soon as Khabib retired.
Javier Mendez on Makhachev
As this one did, no matter how much the UFC leadership disagreed with it, the Eagles MMA team believes the time has come for a successor.
Nothing is different in the other team to which these fighters belong, the American Kickboxing Academy. "People need to understand that this guy is a real machine. If we leave out the possibility that someone can always hit him with a real shot, I don't see anyone who can beat him in any segment of our sport."
"With small gloves anything is possible, but I tell you no there is a fighter who can beat Islam Makhachev by points. And I'm not kidding, "said AKA head coach Javier Mendez. So far the biggest problem for Makhachev has been the rare performances, making him actually among the worst in the entire UFC.
He did his first fight in May 2015, having done a total of eight UFC fights so far. On average, this would mean that the fight is registered only every eight and a half months, which is far below the number of ascending fighters, ie preferably three times a year.
If there is a victory against Dober, Makhachev has a good opportunity to climb to the top. But he will also be expected to do the next fight this spring or early summer. So far the smallest time difference between his two UFC fights has been five months, so he will definitely need to overcome that as well.