Thursday, December 8, 2022

Khabib Gives Three Reasons Why Makhachev Will Be Champion

Former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has explained why Islam Makhachev is destined to have gold wrapped around his waist at UFC 280.

This weekend, Dagestan’s 155-pound best will have the chance to complete a path that has long been laid out for him. While Khabib was on the throne, the rising Makhachev was often touted as his true successor. Now, having amassed 10 consecutive wins, the elite Sambo wrestler has earned his opportunity to follow in the footsteps of his mentor, “The Eagle.”

If he’s to do so, he’ll have to end the 11-fight winning run of Charles Oliveira, who has defied odds and doubt to begin staking his claim for divisional GOAT status in the eyes of some.

But having been stripped of the title earlier this year, the Brazilian will need to stall the surge of his Russian counterpart if he is to resume his reign.

The buildup to Saturday’s UFC 280 headliner has been heated. While Makhachev has repeatedly berated Oliveira for attempting to avoid their matchup, the Brazilian has hit back with accusations of arrogance.

Perhaps somewhat uncharacteristically, Khabib has also had a heavy presence in the feud, even going as far as to doubt that “Do Bronx” would even show up to Abu Dhabi for the event.

And as fight night draws nearer, the belief that the former champion has in his protégé hasn’t dwindled.

Khabib Explains Why Makhachev Should “Roll Over” Oliveira

During a sit-down interview with UFC Russia, fighter-turned-coach Khabib looked ahead to his man’s first championship opportunity inside the Octagon.

When asked why he’s so certain that Makhachev will have his hand raised on October 22 and begin his reign on the lightweight throne, the Russian 34-year-old listed three reasons why Makhachev should “roll over” Oliveira at UFC 280.

“First of all, his skills. I think Islam is more skilled than Oliveira. Secondly, his experience as an amateur fighter,” Khabib said. “Also, he’s at his peak. Islam is at his peak. Islam isn’t 23, 26, or 27. He’s 30. A week after the fight, he’ll be 31. It’s the best time for any athlete. It’s a time when your mental and physical state should be in synergy.

“Of course, there are some potential dangers that we’re working on, where Islam needs to be careful. Other than that, Islam should roll over him,” Khabib concluded.

Many have pointed out that Makhachev’s team may be overlooking Oliveira in a similar way to previous opponents.

And like he did to Michael Chandler, Dustin Poirier, and Justin Gaethje, “Do Bronx” will look to prove that the Russian confidence is misplaced come fight night.

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