Islam Makhachev has received some high praise, being called the best lightweight ever by his head coach Javier Mendez.
Makhachev is set to face revitalized lightweight conqueror Charles Oliveria. Oliveria has been an unstoppable freight train as of late. Coach of Islam Makahchev, Khabib Nurmagomedov was once in his compatriot’s spot.
Javier Mendez has coached both men and claims Islam Makhachev is the best ever. The two Dagestani-born grapplers have both had similar, long-winded paths to the title. Nurmagomedov retired unblemished, and now corners Makhachev, steering him down the same, gold-laden path that he once paved.
Coach Mendez went on record talking to Submission Radio with his appraisal of Islam Makhachev:
“He is so well-rounded. I am going on record saying as the lightweight, he is hands down the No. 1 of all time, best in all areas.”
Not yet finished praising the next title challenger, Mendez continued:
“Number one of all time is Islam Makhachev. The best defense, best striking, best everywhere. The best all-around athlete. Way, way back in the day I thought it was Frank Shamrock that was the best all-around athlete, and he was in all divisions. But in the lightweight division, for me, the person that’s the best-rounded in every single area is Islam Makhachev.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov has always been the man in the gym. The leader and captain. Islam Makhachev though, Is the man closest to challenging “The Eagle”, as Mendez explained.
“No one’s ever won a sparring session. Not a sparring session with Khabib ever. Except for one man. Islam.”
Islam Makhachev has always been promoted as Nurmagomedov’s heir apparent. Everyone from Khabib’s late father, to “The Eagle” himself has always seen this as the natural line of selection.
“Makachev is the only one that has won rounds from Khabib. Never won a session, but he has won rounds. And I’ve never seen that. So, obviously, when Khabib talks about the next heir, he’s not saying something that he’s trying to make up and make people believe.”
Do you think Islam Makhachev is the next 155lb champion?