Chael Sonnen believes Islam Makhachev could potentially walk away from MMA with a win over Alexander Volkanovski.
After capturing the lightweight crown at UFC 280, the Dagestani destroyer will next attempt to become the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world when he challenges current featherweight titleholder Alexander Volkanovski for the top spot. The pair will headline the promotion’s return to Australia on February 11, but by all accounts, when Makhachev makes his most important walk to the Octagon next month, it will be without the man behind his rise to the top, Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The MMA community has been in heavy speculation after the UFC Hall of Famer took to Instagram and indicated that he would be walking away from MMA altogether. American Kickboxing Academy coach Javier Mendez seemingly confirmed Nurmagomedov’s intentions and his manager revealed that the former lightweight champion would not be making the walk with Islam Makhachev for his next fight.
Khabib Nurmagomedov’s manager has now confirmed, that Khabib will not be cornering Islam Makhachev at UFC 284. pic.twitter.com/SsfA265auA
— FullCombat (@FullCombat_) January 9, 2023
Chael Sonnen Compares Khabib’s Retirement to Islam Makhachev’s Situation Going Into UFC 284
In the latest episode of Beyond the Fight on YouTube, Chael Sonnen addressed the similarities between both Nurmagomedov and Makhachev both losing their mentors, though under drastically different circumstances. Even so, the ‘American Ganger’ speculated that perhaps Makhachev will walk away from the sport, similar to how Nurmagomedov did following the loss of his coach and father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov.
“I don’t know how much Islam needs Khabib. I know that Khabib needed his father. That’s a sensitive topic. I’m not trying to go too far down that road, but this was made public in front of us, and the way that Khabib dealt with that, whether we like it or not, we can look back. The story is the same. I have an obligation. I have already committed to something. I’m going to see that through and as soon as I do, I’m done. Is that how Islam feels?
“If Islam’s got an obligation, he’s going to go out there and he’s going to see it through. And when that match is over… It’s a big speculation by me. Hell of a speculation, but I’m just asking the question. I don’t have answers to this.”
Suggesting that Islam Makhachev could walk away from the sport following a victory at UFC 284 is a bold question to ask, but it is not without merit. After capturing the 155-pound title in October, Makhachev will take on the biggest possible fight available to him. Facing another UFC champion who just happens to be the No. 1 ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the world is a pivotal moment for Makhachev.
If Makhachev gets the win, could he decide to hang up the gloves while on top as Khabib Nurmagomedov did? Let us know what you think in the comments.