Michael Chiesa Believes That Dagestani Fighters Will Dominate the Lightweight Division For Years

Chiesa thinks that Makhachev's win at UFC 280 means that the Dagestanis are about to take over the lightweight division for the next ten years.

Michael Chiesa
Credit Michael Chiesa and Islam Makhachev on Instagram

Michael Chiesa is getting ready to settle in on the future of the UFC lightweight division.

In recent years the UFC lightweight division has been one of, if not, the most exciting in all of the UFC. Since 2015 there have been nine different fighters to hold the lightweight belt, including interim champions. The turnover has been numerous, but now with a new champion at the helm, could that rate be paused? UFC fighter turned-analyst Michael Chiesa certainly thinks so. He believes that Islam Makhachev could be atop the 155-pound division for some time now. 

Makhachev became the lightweight champion on Saturday at UFC 280 with a win over former champ Charles Oliveira. The win was his 11th in a row and really put a stamp on his talent and skills. Much has been said of Makhachev and his work with training partner and coach Khabib Nurmagomedov prior to his big win. 

Michael Chiesa feels that the lightweight belt will remain in Dagestan for a long time

Since Khabib Nurmagomedov retired from MMA, he has transitioned over to the position of coach or metro. He has a talented group of fighters working under him and he feels that they will all rise to the level of success in the sport that he and now Makhachev have. At UFC 280, Nurmagomedov was the one to wrap the belt around his protege’s waist because he felt since he never lost the belt, it had always belonged to him. 

There is no doubt that there is a great resemblance between Nurmagomedov and Makhachev when it comes to style and Chiesa thinks this will be a turning point for the up-and-coming fighters out of Russia. 

“He was a little more calculated and he’s already said that he wants to have a really long title reign. “And it’s really cool to see Khabib in this position, not only as a coach but just to be there to see him hand the title over because he even said it himself, Charles wasn’t the true champion then because Khabib stepped down and Khabib said now I’m passing my title down and passing it on to the rightful champion, which is, you know, is Islam Makhachev,” he said on the UFC 280 reaction show. “So it’s some crazy lineage, you know, the 155-pound division is going to be ran by the Dagestanis for the next 10 years.”

Chiesa spent some time in the UFC lightweight division, and although he never faced Nurmagomedov he can see just how dominant the style is. Nurmagomedov and Makhachev have a background in Sambo wrestling. The team is heavy on the ground and uses their wrestling to control the fights. There are several other training partners of these two waiting in the wings for their time to shine. 

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