This weekend, Khabib will look to guide his protégé to title glory in the main event of the Abu Dhabi-held pay-pay-view. “The Eagle” has long touted Makhachev as the true successor to his reign, which came to an end following a third title defense in 2020.
Now, the Russian 30-year-old will have the chance to bring what he’s described as his “destiny” to fruition. To do so, he’ll have to snap the 11-fight win streak of former champion Charles Oliveira.
In the buildup to the blockbuster PPV headliner, the Russian camp has appeared extremely confident and somewhat dismissive of Oliveira’s threat. With that in mind, Khabib firmly expects his man to exit the Etihad Arena with lightweight gold in his possession on October 22, even going as far as to predict that his man will “roll over” the Brazilian.
And according to the fighter-turned-mentor, Makhachev is leading the charge for a number of surging athletes who are set to forge their own success on the sport’s biggest stage soon enough.
Khabib Doesn’t See Success Ending With Makhachev
During a sit-down interview with UFC Russia ahead of UFC 280, Khabib discussed a number of young fighters from his team who he expects to see big things from down the line.
“There are a few guys. The way I see it at 135 pounds, it’s Renat Khavalov. He’s doing well,” Khabib said. “A guy with huge potential who had five fights so far is Amru Magomedov. He strikes very well, and wrestles very well. He’s one year younger than Usman. I think in a year-and-a-half, he’ll be on the horizon.
“We got Shaken Alkhasov. He’s 7-0, and recently submitted a strong guy in the first round. We’ve got 8-10 young, strong guys,” Khabib continued. “Most importantly, they’re all hungry. I watch them, and talk to them. They all have that spark in their eyes. I sometimes see myself in them. The new generation is growing strong.”
Looking to set the example for the next generation of Dagestani contenders is Makhachev. With a momentous victory over Oliveira this Saturday, the #4-ranked lightweight could certainly inspire others in his team to future success.
Do you think Islam Makhachev will become Dagestan’s next UFC champion this weekend at UFC 280?
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