Khabib Nurmagomedov has big plans for his young protégé, Islam Makhachev.
Islam Makhachev is showing many signs of being the next big thing in the UFC lightweight division. He is set to headline his first UFC card this Saturday night as he takes on Thiago Moisés at UFC Vegas 31. In his corner will be none other than former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Nurmagomedov has been training Makhachev and thinks he will be able to carry his legacy now that Nurmagomedov is retired.
“I told Islam, ‘You a little bit later, brother,’” Nurmagomedov told ESPN. “This time, he’s supposed to be top 3. But this guy late. But this Saturday, he have to improve himself and show the world who is Islam Makhachev, not only Khabib’s sparring partner or Khabib brother, no. He have to be Islam Makhachev, best in the world.”
Coming up, Nurmagomedov had the teachings and mentorship of his father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. After Abdulmanap passed away last year, Khabib has stepped into his shoes and taken Makhachev under his wing. Nurmagomedov mentioned that his father’s plan was for Makhachev to carry the legacy after Nurmagomedov was finished. Now is that time.
“Eight-win streak, he beat everyone, Nurmagomedov said. “And this guy have to fight for the title, not because he’s my brother, friend, or something like this. And this Saturday, he’s gonna show, inshallah.”
Makhachev is rising in the UFC lightweight division. With a win on Saturday night, he could find himself locked up with a top opponent next. His stock is rising, and if becoming UFC champion is the goal, it seems he is on the right path.
Do you think Islam Makhachev has the skills to do what Khabib Nurmagomedov has done in MMA or more?