Khabib Nurmagomedov doubles down on support of Islam Makhachev getting title shot, ‘If you have a nine-fight win streak, you have to fight for the title’

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Khabib Nurmagomedov won’t be changing his mind anytime soon when it comes to the UFC lightweight title picture.

The former king of the division recently shared his thoughts on the matter when telling former challenger Justin Gaethje that he “fell asleep” in his lone undisputed opportunity. Despite a recent victory in an instant classic with Michael Chandler at UFC 268, Gaethje is behind Islam Makhachev in the pecking order according to “The Eagle.”

“It doesn’t matter what weight class – lightweight, light heavyweight, any weight class in the UFC – if you have a nine-fight win streak, you have to fight for the title,” Khabib Nurmagomedov told ESPN (h/t MMA Fighting).

Makhachev extended his winning streak to nine after an impressively dominant first-round submission of Dan Hooker at UFC 267 in October. Unfortunately for Makhachev, it appears Gaethje will be next in line after all as Makhachev is now set to face Beneil Dariush on Feb. 26.

“I respect Justin, I love this guy,” Khabib Nurmagomedov said. “This guy’s a very good guy. In 2016 when I was cutting weight for my fight with Darrel Horcher, he helped me cut weight for the last couple of days.

“I just shared with him my opinion. My opinion, Islam deserved [the title shot over him]. Of course, I understand Justin’s very exciting. He’s the real highlight. But my opinion is my opinion.”

Gaethje last suffered defeat at the hands of Khabib Nurmagomedov who sailed off into the sunset at an unbeaten 29-0. Since then, Charles Oliveira came in to capture gold as he will make his first career title defense opposite former interim champion Dustin Poirier on Dec. 11 at UFC 269.

To win the vacant crown, Oliveira dispatched of the aforementioned Chanler in a wild back and forth affair at UFC 262. The Brazilian, like Makhachev, is also on a nine-fight winning streak.

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