Khabib Nurmagomedov obviously has a ton of faith in his protege Islam Makhachev. He says if his teammate can finish Rafael Dos Anjos on the ground, it would be a massive statement for the fellow Dagestani.
Khabib has been singing the praises of Makhachev long before he got an arguably undeserved top five ranking in the UFC’s lightweight division. Now Islam will have the chance to prove that he deserves that ranking by taking on former champ Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 267.
Ahead of this fight, Nurmagomedov knows that RDA is beatable, especially considering he was one of the men to do so. However he told RT Sport that if Islam can finish RDA on the ground, something not even the Eagle himself did, it would send a massive statement to the rest of the division.
“I would like Islam to take (RDA) down in the first round. Impose some wrestling pressure on him – then he will be ready. It would be great if Islam finished him on the ground because I can’t remember anyone finishing dos Anjos on the ground. Yes he was dominated, but not finished,” Khabib said.
“(Colby) Covington, Kamaru (Usman), myself – we all dominated him on the ground, but could not finish him. I think if Islam finishes him and becomes actually the first fighter to do so against him, it would be a huge statement.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov Says RDA Has A Trump
Something hindering the ascension of Islam Makhavchev, is a relative lack of experience, with various issues leaving him to fight just once since 2019. This is something that Khabib Nurmagomedov knows is not a problem for Rafael Dos Anjos.
Nurmagomedov thinks that the experience that RDA has is a huge asset. Even though he believes his pupil is the better fighter, he knows that the veteran savvy of someone like the Brazilian is something that could cause problems.
“Dos Anjos is very experienced. He’s been in five-rounders a lot of times. He fought a lot of good fighters,” Khabib said. “He has a lot of experience. In such big fights, experience is like a trump card up your sleeve.”
What do you make of this assessment from Khabib Nurmagomedov? How do you see Islam Makhachev vs Rafael Dos Anjos playing out?