Islam Makhachev got a good chuckle when the subject of Bobby Green’s wrestling skills was brought up in a recent interview.
Fans who have been following Islam Makhachev’s UFC career can attest to just how much his English skills have improved over the years. Makhachev has gone from not speaking English, barely being able to put a sentence together, speaking a moderate amount of English, to now becoming a full-blown roastmaster, at least when it comes to Bobby Green’s wrestling skills.
At UFC Vegas 49, Makhachev will be facing Green at a 160 lbs. catchweight bout, with Green serving as a replacement for the injured Beneil Dariush. Makhachev appeared on the ESPN program DC & RC, which is co-hosted by a mentor and teammate of Makhachev’s over at American Top Team, Daniel Cormier.
Makhachev told Cormier and Ryan Clark that his game plan never changes, even when his opponent does. However, Bobby Green was an all-state wrestler at the high school level. With this in mind, Cormier tried to educate Makhachev about Green’s wrestling background that complements his striking, and Makhachev responded by laughing in his face.
Their dialogue was as follows:
Daniel Cormier: But with Bobby Green, he’s got a very different style, Islam. He’s very talented, he’s slick, and he’s good on the standup. But what many people miss is how good of a wrestler Bobby Green is. He’s really good at defending takedowns. He has a wrestling background.
Islam Makhachev: Who said? <laughs>
Daniel Cormier: Listen, I’m telling you. What do you mean, ‘Who said?’ <laughs> What do you mean?”
Islam Makhachev: Brother, he got good boxing and that’s it, brother. <wide smile>
Daniel Cormier: He has a wrestling background, Islam.
Islam Makhachev: Maybe he watch some wrestling match. That’s it, brother.
<Cormier & Ryan Clark break out laughing>
Islam Makhachev: I wrestle, brother, all my life. Wrestling background? <takes swig of water>
You can view the bulk of the exchange below.
Bobby Green Isn’t Amused
During a UFC Vegas 49 media day scrum, it seemed as though Bobby Green had caught wind of Makhachev’s remarks. Green did not directly reference the DC & RC segment, but he clearly has reason to believe that Makhachev is not taking him seriously as a competitor and that Daniel Cormier will continue trying to get through to him.
“I feel like he doesn’t respect me. He doesn’t understand me, either,” Green said. “I don’t know if he’s been watching, but I know DC is one of his guys. And DC’s gonna let him know. ‘Hey, do this, and do this, and do this.’ DC’s been paying attention to me. We’ll see.”
If Green has his way, he won’t need to prove his wrestling credentials to Islam because he’s made no secret that he wants the fight to be a standup battle. He has stated that he will be the first person to put Makhachev in a real fight and that it will not be a wrestling match on Saturday but a fight.
Makhachev has other ideas. He has not hidden his game plan of wrestling with Green. And judging from his reaction to Cormier’s scouting report, he does not believe Green will be equipped to do anything to prevent being put on his back and submitted.
Do you think Islam Makhachev is underestimating Bobby Green?