Daniel Cormier on why it’s “unfair” to compare Islam Makhachev and Khabib Nurmagomedov’s UFC accolades

By Curtis Calhoun - June 6, 2024

UFC Hall of Famer Daniel Cormier feels the comparisons between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev are unfounded.

Daniel Cormier, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Islam Makhachev

Makhachev defeated Dustin Poirier in his latest UFC lightweight title defense at UFC 302 last weekend. Nurmagomedov, who retired in 2020 and entered the UFC Hall of Fame in 2022, was front-and-center to witness Makhachev’s latest victory.

Makhachev and Nurmagomedov have been compared for their successes and star power in and out of the Octagon. While they have similar styles with their Dagestani-style wrestling, Makhachev is regarded as having more polished striking.

Cormier, a former teammate of Nurmagomedov and Makhachev at American Kickboxing Academy, feels one stands alone over the other.

Daniel Cormier: No one will be as dominant as Khabib

In a recent episode of Good Guy/Bad Guy with Chael Sonnen, Cormier weighed in on the Makhachev/Nurmagomedov comparisons.

“When you look at this comparison, the dominance,” Cormier said of Makhachev and Nurmagomedov. “28-1 in their UFC careers, 17 finishes, that’s absurd. I don’t know that it’s fair to compare them, especially based on a common opponent, because I believe that Dustin Poirier was better because he had the opportunity to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov. He had felt that strength, grappling, and a little bit of a recognition in what he would be facing when he got into the Octagon. I was one of the people that said early, ‘I think Islam Makhachev is more dangerous than Khabib’ because of his striking. But as I reflect on this, I don’t know if we’ll ever see anyone as dominant as Khabib…

“How often did you see Khabib Nurmagomedov not look outwardly dominant?” Cormier continued. “That’s where I think you make the difference. We don’t know what would’ve happened if Khabib stayed for a while, but history tells us he’d still be holding on to the championship right now. With about 8 or 9 title defenses, and still kind of dominating the way that he did. The dominance is different. Islam will stand with you more than Khabib was willing to, but it was the idea that you knew what Khabib was going to do to you, and you couldn’t do anything to stop it.”

Nurmagomedov retired with a 29-0 record in MMA, including wins over Conor McGregor, Justin Gaethje, and Poirier. He retired in 2020 after the victory over Gaethje and the tragic death of his father, Abdulmanap.

Makhachev is unbeaten since a knockout loss to Adriano Martins in UFC 192. He has won 14 consecutive fights and has surged to the UFC’s pound-for-pound No. 1 spot.

Cormier feels Nurmagomedov and Makhachev have some similarities in their career trajectories, but that the debate stops when you consider Nurmagomedov’s dominance in the cage.

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM


Daniel Cormier Islam Makhachev Khabib Nurmagomedov UFC