Khabib Nurmagomedov believes no one will beat his pupil, Islam Makhachev.
Makhachev is the main training partner of Nurmagomedov and many call him his protégé. Since “The Eagle” retired, he also passed along the torch to Makhachev who many inside AKA believe is destined to be a future champion. Although he is still ranked outside the top-10, Nurmagomedov believes his fellow Dagestani native will be the champion by the end of 2021.
“Now, everybody talks about Dustin, Conor, Chandler, Justin, Oliveira,” Nurmagomedov told ESPN about Makhachev.”But by the end of the year, it’s gonna be changed. I don’t think anyone can beat [Makhachev] right now. He will run [the division].”
Islam Makhachev is currently 18-1 as a pro. He’s set to return to the Octagon on the main card of UFC 259 against Drew Dober. It’s a very intriguing matchup for the Russian and if he wins, it’s likely he will get a top-10 opponent next time out. He could also be only a few wins away from following Nurmagomedov’s path of becoming the UFC lightweight champion.
Daniel Cormier believes Makhachev took a slow path to the lightweight ranks because Khabib Nurmagomedov was the champion. But, now that The Eagle has retired, Cormier expects Makhachev to make a quick run up the lightweight ranks.
“You knew as long as Khabib was the champion, Islam was going to take a slower approach to moving up the rankings,” Cormier said. “But now, Khabib and I talked about it, everybody believes that Islam can be the man. Now, with Khabib [retired], I believe now [Islam] starts to make his ascent.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov also believes that to be true as he thinks this is no Islam Makhachev’s era in the UFC.
“I really believe his era is on the way,” Nurmagomedov said.
Do you agree with Khabib Nurmagomedov that Islam Makhachev will run the lightweight division?