Islam Makhachev has silenced all concerns about Khabib Nurmagomedov’s status for UFC 284 next month. Makhachev has now conquered the UFC’s lightweight division after capturing the vacant strap by defeating Charles Oliveira back in October. Now, he’s gunning for the No. 1-ranked pound-for-pound spot currently occupied by featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski.
Makhachev will put his 155-pound title up for grabs against Volkanovski, who will make the 10-pound jump up in an attempt to become a dual-weight title holder. The pair are set to headline the UFC 284 pay-per-view (PPV) event on February 12 from Volkanovski’s backyard of Australia. However, there has been a ton of speculation as to whether or not Makhachev will have longtime mentor and ex-UFC lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov in his corner for the contest.
Islam Makhachev Confirms Khabib’s UFC 284 Status
Recently, Nurmagomedov made the decision to step away from mixed martial arts (MMA) altogether. Since retiring from in-Octagon competition, Nurmagomedov has been working as a coach, playing a vital role in Makhachev’s rise to championship status in the UFC. However, it looks like he’s ready to step away from the sport altogether.
With such a massive fight approaching for Makhachev, many have wondered if Nurmagomedov will wait to fully exit the sport until after UFC 284. However, speaking to FOX Sports Australia, Makhachev confirmed that Khabib will, in fact, not be in his corner for the PPV headliner next month.
“When the cage door close, no one is there for you,” Makhachev said. “Of course, it’s going to be different but I’ve already fought without him a couple of times. And he cannot always be with me. Of course, it’s very good when he is here. I always like when he is with me because he knows all the games being played.
“He knows what you need for the fight, for the weight cut, you don’t have to worry about any of this. It’s always good when you have someone as experienced as him. You don’t have to spend your energy thinking about other things. But I understand that he has to spend more time with his family.”
Makhachev is stepping into the cage against Volkanovski, who has not lost in MMA competition for nearly a decade. With big wins over the likes of Max Holloway, Brian Ortega, Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes, and more, Volkanovski is quickly making the case for being the greatest featherweight champion the UFC has ever seen.
He’ll have a chance to further solidify that by taking on what seems to be an unstoppable Makhachev in Perth next month.