Islam Makhachev is heading into the biggest fight of his career at UFC 280. He will be taking on the former UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira in the main event that evening. The road to getting to the title was not an easy one for Makhachev, but perhaps he made it look that way thanks to the great team he has behind him.
Makhachev is trained in part by former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. The two have known each other for a long time and were training partners before Nurmagomedov retired from MMA.
Now as student and teacher, Nurmagomedov has been singing Makhachev’s praises. He is constantly building his friend up in the media and bragging about his skills. The world knows that these two are close but now Nurmagomedov explains their early days of knowing each other.
Khabib Nurmagomedov Reflects On His and Islam Makhachev’s Childhood Together
Nurmagomedov and Makhachev grew up near each other in Russia. They both competed in Sambo wrestling growing up and have very similar fighting styles now. In an interview with UFC Russia, Nurmagomedov talked about their school days and how he was perhaps a better student than his friend back in the day.
“I’ve known Islam since childhood. He’s three years younger than me. We went to school together. We had a Wushu gym in our yard,” he said. “That was in the early 2000s. What, 22 years (ago)? I think that counts as early childhood. He was 10-11 at the time. He was always competitive and hated losing. Whatever martial art he competed in, he was successful. In school, I think he didn’t do bad… I put effort into education, I don’t know (that) Islam did. But I know he wasn’t a troublemaker compared to Abubakar… Islam was more disciplined.”
Makhachev and Nurmagomedov are so similar that people sometimes refer to Makhachev as “The next Khabib.” He will have his first opportunity to show this if he can defeat Oliveira at UFC 280 on Oct. 22
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