Khabib Nurmagomedov has challenged Islam Makhachev ahead of their first UFC main event. The two fighters are scheduled to go at it this Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada with the lightweight title on the line.
Khabib Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev are set to fight for the first time in a UFC main event. The two fighters have a long-standing rivalry, but this is the first time they will meet inside of the Octagon.
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s late father, had a plan for the conclusion of his son’s career. Abdulmanap intended Khabib to retire with a 30-0 record, which is well-known in the MMA world, but what is less well-known is that Islam Makhachev was also part of Abdulmanap’s plan.
It was unexpected for a variety of reasons when Nurmagomedov suddenly withdrew from the sport after a successful championship defense in October, which improved his record to 29-0. One is that he was at the peak of his career at the age of 32. But it was also unexpected because of Abdulmanap’s 30-0 goal, which he scored before dying in July 2020.
In his debut UFC main event, Islam Makhachev, a pupil of Khabib Nurmagomedov, takes against Thiago Moises. Miesha Tate faces Marion Reneau in the co-main event for the first time since November 2016.
Makhachev vs. Moises at UFC Fight Night UFC Apex, Las Vegas, Saturday • Main event on ESPN/ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET • Preliminaries: ESPN/ESPN+, 7 p.m. ET
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However, according to Nurmagomedov, the ultimate number of his wins was not a key component of Abdulmanap’s strategy. The primary objective was for Nurmagomedov to step down, relinquish his championship, and hand over the reins to his long-time buddy, colleague, and fellow Daghestan native Makhachev.
“When you finish, Islam has to arrive,” Nurmagomedov said. Nurmagomedov quit because he promised his mother he would only fight once without Abdulmanap in his corner. “‘After you complete, Islam must arrive at the same time as you, since there are three years between you two.”
“‘You’re a little late, brother,’ I told Islam. You only make the top ten. ‘You’re expected to be in the top three.’ This individual is running late.”
Islam Makhachev was looking for a top-10 opponent after defeating Drew Dober in March. Against Thiago Moises on Saturday, he won’t get it, but it will be Makhachev’s first main event. Zuffa LLC/Jeff Bottari
Maybe, but if Makhachev (19-1) is late, it’s just by a few minutes. The 29-year-old is rated No. 8 by ESPN and No. 9 by the UFC, and he will fight Thiago Moises in the main event of Saturday’s Fight Night program (15-4). A win would extend his winning run to eight matches, and he would almost likely face a top-10 opponent in his next outing. On March 6, Makhachev submitted the dangerous Drew Dober in the third round of his last bout.
“I assumed [the UFC] was going to give me a fighter in the top five or top ten after my last fight, but they said I’d have to wait until November or maybe December,” Makhachev stated. “Every three to four months, I have to struggle.” ‘It doesn’t matter who, just provide me an opponent,’ I told them.
“These people are all hiding. Nobody likes to get into a battle. They know I’m going to drag them down, restrain them, and exhaust them. It’s going to be a tough battle for them all.”
For as well-known and mainstream as Nurmagomedov was — and continues to be — Makhachev has remained mostly unknown. He’s been in the UFC since 2015 and has a sizable social media following (almost 3 million Instagram followers), yet he’s never been featured on a UFC event banner as a headliner.
Makhachev’s squad, on the other hand, has long regarded him as Nurmagomedov’s future successor. Since they were youngsters in Dagestan, he has trained alongside Nurmagomedov. He was trained in Abdulmanap’s style and is a past champion in the Russian martial art Sambo.
“I met these men in 2014,” Ali Abdelaziz, Nurmagomedov and Makhachev’s manager, stated. “I instantly recognized Abdulmanap’s passion for Islam as distinct from Abdulmanap’s, since he is always listening and disciplined. And if you don’t keep your cool with Abdulmanap, he’ll slam you. Islam, I believe, is a modest guy who isn’t a great trash talker or a showman… yet he was born to be a champion.”
That title moment for Makhachev and his squad may arrive in the first half of 2022. He wants to challenge former champion Rafael dos Anjos or former interim champion Tony Ferguson after impressing as a big betting favorite on Saturday.
Makhachev remarked, “Honestly, I believe I have two more steps.” “Dos Anjos and perhaps another man. They must offer me a championship bout in the year 2022. For a long time, many people have told me that I must be champion. I’ll simply keep working hard and one day I’ll be champion.”
After their March victory, Nurmagomedov, center, poses with Makhachev and his squad. On Saturday, Nurmagomedov will be in Makhachev’s zone once again. Getty Images/Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC
There was a time when Nurmagomedov and Makhachev battled on the same night at UFC 242 on Sept. 7, 2019. Makhachev won a unanimous decision against Davi Ramos. In the main event, Nurmagomedov unified his 155-pound title by defeating interim champion Dustin Poirier.
As Makhachev addressed questions from the media at the postfight press conference, Nurmagomedov put his title belt in front of him and stated, “Future champion.” Abdulmanap was also present. Nurmagomedov’s gesture was symbolic, not an official passing of the belt, but a message that victory was just a matter of time.
“You have to show yourself this Saturday,” Nurmagomedov stated. “Prove to the world who Islam Makhachev is. Khabib’s brother isn’t the only one. No. He needs to be his own person. Makhachev, Islam. The best on the planet. A winning streak of eight fights. He was the best of them all.
“This man needs to compete for the championship, not because he’s my brother or a buddy or anything. [Because] he is very talented.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov is challenging Islam Makhachev ahead of their first UFC main event. Reference: islam makhachev fight.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is khabib related to Islam Makhachev?
Yes, Khabib is an Arabic name and Makhachev is Russian.
Has Islam Makhachev loss in UFC?
Makhachev has not lost in UFC.
Does khabib Train Islam?
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