News

Islam Makhachev embraces Khabib Nurmagomedov comparisions: ‘I want to be like Khabib’ – MMA Root

Islam Makhachev embraces Khabib Nurmagomedov comparisions: ‘I want to be like Khabib’

Islam Makhachev’s flamboyant lightweight run has been compared to arguably the best ever competing in the division.

This is a comparison that Makhachev does not shy away from.

With eight straight wins against Dan Hooker this Saturday at UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi, Makhachev – the 6th lightweight in the world MMA Fighting rankings – looks destined to compete for the UFC title that was once his close friend and teammate Khabib Nurmagomedov. kept. At UFC 267 media day, Makhachev was asked if he felt any pressure compared to Eagle.

“I want to be like Khabib,” Makhachev said. “I train with him all the time. He is very supportive to me. It’s not pressure on me. I’m just happy because I have a guy like him behind me. “

Like Nurmagomedov, Makhachev is known for his relentless wrestling and playing on the ground, as well as the ease with which he dominates his opponents. He has won eight straight fights, completing two past rivals Thiago Moises and Drew Dober, and has a 20-1 record overall as a pro.

Makhachev largely considers his team at the American Kickboxing Academy, which includes Nurmagomedov and head coach Javier Mendes, to be his recent success.

“Do you know what great experience you have?” Makhachev said when asked what role Nurmagomedov played in his preparation for Hooker. “He and Javier Mendes are my head coaches. He helps me a lot. He gives me a plan for the game, he helps me a lot at the training camp. Not just as a sparring partner, he can give more because he has a lot of experience in this game. “

Nine straight wins will tie Makhacheva’s longest current UFC win streak in the 155-pound division with champion Charles Oliveira. Oliveira prepares for his first title defense against Dustin Poirier at UFC 269. Justin Gatjee and Michael Chandler, whom Oliveira beat to win the vacant belt, will face off against their strongest opponents at UFC 268 a month earlier.

Makhachev does not anticipate that he will be next in line for the title fight if he defeats Hooker, but he does foresee a scenario that will strengthen his position in the fight for the title of contender # 1.

“Oliveira is fighting against Poirier, and Chandler is fighting against Getji,” Makhachev said. “After I beat Hooker, I don’t know. If Chandler and Oliveira win, who will fight for the title? I’ll be ready because I don’t think a rematch for Chandler and Oliveira is a good idea. They don’t need to ask me, I’m just ready. “