The former 155lbs king retired from the UFC and the sport of MMA following his emphatic title defense against Justin Gaethje last October. However, since stepping away from the sport, the former champ vehemently believes that his long-time training partner and fellow friend Islam Makhachev will not only win the title but will further his growing legacy with a title reign.
The former lightweight champ Khabib admits that Oliveira is a worthy champion. Additionally, the Russian enigma is relieved that the grappling ace Oliveira won the title against Michael Chandler, as Khabib believes having a fighter winning the title with only two fights in the promotion would be problematic.
Even though Khabib was happy to see Oliveira become champion, he firmly believes his longtime friend Islam Makhachev will become champion eventually. And by the time the upstart makes it to the top of the division, the unbeaten Russian believes that Dustin Poirier will likely become the champion in that timeframe.
“But when Islam Makhachev rises in the rankings, Oliveira will no longer be champion,” Khabib said to Sport 24. “The main thing is that Oliveira should understand my words correctly. I respect him, he is a worthy champion. But when Islam will go up, there will be another champion within the year. In my eyes, it will be Dustin Poirier.”
If Makhachev is to reach the heights of becoming a champion, then he will need to get past Thiago Moisés on July 17. Prior to the pairing, Makhachev dispatched Drew Dober in the third round with an arm-triangle choke from half-guard. In the coming months, fans and the MMA world will witness the true ceiling of Islam Makhachev.
Do you agree with Khabib? Will Islam Makhachev become champion in the UFC?