Islam Makhachev will be without Khabib Nurmagomedov on fight night but is still getting advice from his friend.
UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev is gearing up for one of the most important fights of his career. He will be attempting to defend his title for the first time against the pound-for-pound best fighter in the UFC, Alexander Volkanovski. This is a very tough task as Volkanovski has dominated the featherweight division for years and has never lost in the UFC. Makhachev is riding a long winning streak himself but this time things will be a bit different, he will be heading into this fight without a crucial member of his team in his corner.
Coming up in the UFC, Makhachev was known as the protege of former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. The two trained together and came up together in Dagestan, Russia. Once Nurmagomedov left to retire it was said that Makhachev would take over, which he has. Now Nurmagomedov is taking a step even further back and distancing himself from the sport of MMA. Much has been made of his absence in the fight, but Makhachev is relaying the fact that he is never that far gone from the process.
Islam Makhachev says he gets advice from Khabib Nurmagomedov everyday
Makhachev trained for his title fight against Charles Oliveria with his entire team including Nurmagomedov. More recently, however, Nurmagomedov announced his intentions to walk away from MMA altogether to spend more time with family. It was later clarified that he would simply be cutting down on his travel for events but will still be there in spirit. Now Makhachev is explaining just how involved he has been.
Khabib Nurmagomedov has been calling Islam Makhachev every day in the lead up to UFC 284 in Perth ☎️
#MMA #UFC pic.twitter.com/GWHuLqHrQK
— Niko Pajarillo (@NikoPajarillo) February 9, 2023
“Every day, every morning he’ll message, say ‘how’s your weight? How are you training? What you do? Who you spar?” he said. “And also coach Javier, the other coaches, they also send him the video from the sparring. He always gives me good advice always, every day.”
Coming up Makhachev was referred to quite often as “the next Khabib.” Now without his mentor in his corner, it could be a chance to break out on his own. He is a new champion be is still relatively unknown in many non-MMA circles. Even the boss Dana White forgot his name recently. This new chapter, starting with this title defense could be the beginning of the Islam Makhachev era.