Islam Makhachev would “maul” Charles Oliveira and “finish” Dustin Poirier, says former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Makhachev returns to the Octagon this Saturday night in the main event of UFC Vegas 31 against fellow top-15 ranked lightweight Thiago Moises. For Makhachev, he is now 8-1 in the UFC and currently riding a seven-fight win streak, so a win over Moises will likely earn him an elite opponent his next time out. With Nurmagomedov now retired, Makhachev has a clear path to get to the top of the division without fighting his friend and training partner.
Speaking to ESPN, Nurmagomedov once again expressed confidence in his longtime teammate Makhachev to get the job done with him retired from the sport. Although Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier are tremendous fighters who are the top-two fighters in the lightweight division, Nurmagomedov believes Makhachev can defeat both of them.
“I think he’s a little bit ahead of all these lightweights. I truly believe he can finish Dustin Poirier. Maybe Dustin’s gonna be upset, but I truly believe he can finish Dustin Poirier. He can maul Charles Oliveira. I don’t think Charles can play with him like this, all jiu-jitsu guard. We just need time and no accidents,” Nurmagomedov said of Makhachev.
For years, Makhachev has been someone who was targeted as a future world champion, but when Nurmagomedov was at the top of the division, it felt as though the youngster wasn’t getting as much attention as he deserves. Now that “The Eagle” is retired from MMA, all the focus at AKA can now be directed to Makhachev and getting him towards the point of where he fights for a UFC belt, and it starts with a win over Moises this Saturday.
Do you think Khabib Nurmagomedov is right and that Islam Makhachev would defeat both Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier inside the Octagon?