At UFC 280 on October 22nd, Islam Makhachev will get his long-awaited shot at UFC gold when he meets former world champion Charles Oliveira in the evening’s main event.
With the UFC lightweight title currently vacant after Oliveira’s controversial weight miss ahead of UFC 274, the two fighters will compete to crown a new king of the 155-pound division. Weeks out from their championship showdown, Islam Makhachev sat down with EPSN’s Brett Okamoto to talk about the impending lightweight clash. As the conversation began heating up, Okamoto asked the Dagestani fighter if thinks Charles Oliveira truly believes his own words when saying that he will defeat Makhachev at UFC 280.
“I don’t think because, you know, when he beat [Michael] Chandler for the title, he never said my name. He said Poirier, Dustin, but he never say my name. He called out Nate Diaz. He called out Conor many times, but he never said my name. He knows it’s gonna be… I’m hard [fight] for everybody because I have always [the] same plan. Take him down, hold him there. I’m a terrible fight for everybody. Everybody knows this.”
For Islam Makhachev, UFC 280 will be his first opportunity to become a world champion. It’s an opportunity that
“I’m excited because all my life, I’m training. I’ve spent many many days and hours. Many years inside the gym and I’m almost there now. The finish is very close.”
Islam Makhachev on How he is Unlike His Mentor Khabib Nurmagomedov
Islam Makhachev’s mentor Khabib Nurmagomedov is nothing short of a UFC legend. Inducted into the 2022 class of the UFC Hall of Fame, ‘The Eagle’ went an incredible 29-0 in his mixed martial arts career and retired as the UFC lightweight champion. Nurmagomedov defeated Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor, and Justin Gaethje with gold on the line before hanging up his gloves in 2020.
Despite retiring from the sport, ‘The Eagle’ stays very active, training, coaching, and cornering fighters from his gym while working to establish his own promotion, Eagle FC in the United States. Though Islam Makhachev has no intentions of retiring early as Nurmagomedov did, he intends to spend more time with friends and family when he ultimately walks away from the sport.
“I’m not like Khabib. He’s still going everywhere. Every fight he comes and corners all fighters from our gym. Every day he flies to some other country. I just want to… After I retire, spend more time with family, with my friends. Because the last 10 years, I am always in camp or U.S. or some other country. But after the career, I want to spend more time in the city and with my family.”