UFC lightweight Thiago Moisés doesn’t believe Islam Makhachev can be held in the same regard as Khabib Nurmagomedov in MMA.
Moisés’ comments come ahead of his first UFC main event at UFC Vegas 31 this weekend. Despite the odds and the expectation from many that he’ll be comfortably defeated by Makhachev, the Brazilian believes he is a tougher matchup for the Russian than most people think.
But ahead of their headlining fight inside the UFC Apex, Moisés isn’t believing the hype surrounding Makhachev’s rise in the sport. While speaking to reporters during UFC Vegas 31 media day, the 26-year-old revealed he isn’t buying into the comparisons between #9-ranked lightweight and his teammate Khabib.
“I think Khabib has a higher pace than him. Khabib doesn’t stop. More pressure. I think Islam is a little bit more technical on the feet.” (h/t MMA Junkie)
Moisés added that he believes “The Eagle” is the greatest 155-pound fighter in history and, for him, Makhachev doesn’t even come close.
“For me, Khabib is the best lightweight of all time. Nobody’s like Khabib, and Islam is definitely not like Khabib. That’s the biggest difference between them, is, I think, the pace.”
But despite failing to see any comparisons between the two Dagestani’s, Moisés admitted that a victory over Makhachev would be huge for his career and, in his mind, would put him in position to face a top five opponent next time out.
“I think with a win over Islam I deserve a top five opponent. I’m going to be right in the mix for a title match,” said Moisés.
Against Thiago Moisés on Saturday, Makhachev will be looking to extend his dominant winning streak to eight and secure victory in his main event debut. Should he manage to do so, it stands to reason a top lightweight contender will be awaiting him next time out. For the Brazilian, meanwhile, a win would see him climb further up the rankings and enhance his status as one of the division’s top prospects.
Elsewhere on the UFC Vegas 31 card, former 135-pound champion Miesha Tate returns to the Octagon for the first time since 2016, Jeremy “Lil Heathen” Stephens looks to derail the Mateusz Gamrot hype train, and Miles John will search for another highlight reel knockout when he faces Anderson dos Santos.
Do you think Islam Makhachev can become as successful as Khabib Nurmagomedov in MMA?