Islam Mahkachev is finally as active as expected in recent years. The great Dagestani recorded two victories this year and arranged a third fight. On October 30 in Abu Dhabi, the most important fight so far and certainly the highest-ranked opponent awaits him.
It’s about Dan Hooker, and a win over him would make him a challenger candidate. The man who predicted great things for Makhachev a few years ago was Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. He said that, after the retirement of his son Khabib, Islam would be in a position to take the throne from him immediately.
Due to circumstances involving Abdulmanap’s sudden death, this did not happen. Khabib retired earlier than expected, i.e. while Islam had not yet arrived to build his resume. However, the most important thing is how successfully he is working on it now.
Khabib has announced that Islam will take the lightweight throne in 2022 and hold it for a long time. At the moment, he seems to be on the best possible path, as he defeated all the last opponents without any major problems.
Khabib on Makhachev
Khabib has no doubt that it will be the same in the fight against Hooker, who is certainly a dangerous fighter with an enviable summary. But in his opinion not good enough in certain segments to beat the new Dagestani beast.
"Islam's fight against Hooker will be a very big challenge for Islam. It will be a good fight. Hooker is a sixth-ranked fighter in the rankings, but I don't think he has ever fought against someone like Islam."
"All his fights were against hitters. I don't know "what can he do against Islam's grappling, pressure and domination on the floor, how will he stop it? " "All he has in this fight is a 'lucky punch'
Without that, there is a 99 percent chance Islam will demolish him," Khabib said during his last interview in front of fans. The story is such that even Makhachev has so far not met a stand-up fighter like Hooker, and we know how the fight starts on their feet.
Still, the fact is that Hooker hasn’t had a grappler against him throughout his UFC career so far, except for Michael Chandler against whom the whole, actually pretty short fight has stayed on their feet and is now going to be one of the best, if not currently best in the division.
It is an important fight for both of them, but Makhachev has a lot at stake. He is set to be the fifth fighter in the lightweight rankings without having beaten anyone in the Top 10 so far. He must now justify that against sixth-placed Hooker.