Islam Makhachev isn’t shying away from all the comparisons being made between himself and his mentor.
Islam Makhachev will be stepping back into the UFC Octagon this weekend when he takes on Dan Hooker at UFC 267. Makhachev has a lot of hype surrounding him coming into this fight. He has won all but one of his UFC fights so far and has made a name for himself in the division. Although he is getting the praise he deserves, most of the time it is paired with praise for his mentor and coach Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Because Makhachev’s style and mannerisms are so similar to Nurmagomedov’s he is often called, “The Next Khabib”. A young fighter trying to make their way in the UFC might want to separate themselves from such comparisons, but not Makhachev, he is embracing it.
“I want to be next Khabib. I want to be like Khabib. Honestly, I want to smash all my opponents like Khabib, too,” Makhachev told BT Sports. “I have little bit same [statistics], but I agree. If somebody say, ‘You fight like Khabib’ or ‘You gonna be like Khabib,’ I want to be.”
Makhachev is on an eight-fight winning streak coming into this bout with Hooker. Hooker is stepping in on short notice to replace hiss initial opponent Rafael dos Anjos who suffered an injury. Dos Anjos was trying to use Makhachev as a ploy to get a bout with Nurmagomedov who is retired. If he gets the win over Hooker he will find himself in a great position in the division and more fighters will be looking the get a bout with him instead.
Following in his mentor’s footsteps seems inevitable for Makhachev, he is only one submission away from tying Nurmagomedov’s UFC submissions. If he wins the title then both can claim mission accomplished.
Do you think Islam Makhachev can be as successful as Khabib Numragomedov was in the UFC?