Islam Makhachev is rising up the UFC lightweight rankings, and Max Kellerman is already showering him with glowing praise.
Makhachev is coming off a submission victory over Thiago Moisés at UFC Vegas 31. With the win, Makhachev has emerged victorious in his last eight outings. Many believe he is primed for a showdown with an elite 155-pounder next.
Kellerman, who is known for covering the sport of boxing, has thrown in his two cents on Makhachev. The ESPN analyst explains why Makhachev reminds him of late NBA legend Kobe Bryant and boxing Hall of Fame elect Floyd Mayweather.
“[Islam Makhachev] reminds me, in his way, of Floyd Mayweather or Kobe Bryant. He takes the initiative — even though it’s wrestling and it’s not obvious, there’s no big things happening —he is initiating, the other guy is reacting to him, and for every reaction, he has a counter… They not only have put the time in, that they have the technique, but they also think faster than the other guy. The more you struggle, it’s like quicksand, the worse it gets for you.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is a longtime friend of Makhachev, has high hopes for the number five-ranked UFC lightweight. During an interview with MMAJunkie, Makhachev admitted that he’s feeling a bit of pressure to live up to Khabib’s legacy.
“Yes, a little bit because everybody told me, ‘You have to be next. You have to be next champion,” Makhachev said. “That’s why I just have to (train) more, you know? What I can do? I just have to train.”
Do you think Max Kellerman makes a fitting comparison between Islam Makhachev and sports legends Floyd Mayweather and Kobe Bryant?