The UFC has been waiting six months for a new lightweight champion. In fact, much less than that counting from the time the UFC accepted Khabib Nurmagomedov’s decision to retire and vacated the championship position. His successor was Charles Oliveira, and Khabib commented on the fight, in a conversation with Russian journalist Igor Lazorin.
"Charles Oliveira is a champion who really deserves it. I think he has eight wins in a row and almost as many stoppages. As far as I remember, only against Tony Ferguson, it finished with the decision. A lot of stoppages, a lot of records, and absolutely real champion ", Khabib is proud of who succeeded him.
But if the opposite had happened, he would not have liked it at all. "It would be a shame for Chandler to become champion. Two fights in the UFC and already to be champion? It would turn out that something is wrong here."
"Oliveira has gone through so much, progressed slowly, I'm glad for him," he commented about another possible outcome, which fortunately did not happen
Still, he believes the champion won’t hold that title for long.
He believes Islam Makhachev will take the throne next year, and even thinks he won’t do it against Oliveira at that point. In the meantime, in Khabib's opinion, he will lose his belt to another fighter. "When Islam gets a chance to attack the title, the title will no longer be with Oliveira.
Oliveira should listen to me well. I respect him, he is a well-deserved champion, but when Islam reaches the top, there will be another champion. In my eyes, it will be Dustin Poirier, ”he estimated. Makhachev had trouble finding an opponent, so instead of attacking the better-ranked, he was paired with Thiago Moises, a fighter who was out of the rankings at the time of the pairing and is now the 15th lightweight challenger.
So Islam's ascent to the top will be a little slower, but Khabib is confident that he will find himself there and rule for a long time. It is difficult to have a better mentor to achieve something like that. It really seems that the fighters in the region of Russia, more precisely Dagestan, have something special in them and from a young age they have different pieces of training that make them more ready and better than their opponents.
Nurmagomedov is the best example of such a thing. It seems that Makhachev had the same mentors and it really wouldn't be strange for him to become a champion next year