Islam Makhachev will return this weekend to take on Thiago Moises at UFC Vegas 31, with many expecting another resounding victory for the Russian.
In preparation for the fight, Islam Makhachev had to answer many questions about his relationship with Khabib. In a recent interview, he gave his thoughts on the comparisons between him and “The Eagle”.
Responding if he is annoyed by the comparisons with Khabib, Makhachev said:
“No, because he [Khabib] is a champion. He’s not just a champion, he’s my big brother. Now he is also my trainer. Throughout my professional career he has been my training partner.
Speaking of Nurmagomedov’s motivational abilities, Islam noted:
“He always pushes everyone and we have to train harder. He always said to me: ‘you are going to be champion.’ I just have to train hard.
Khabib Nurmagomedov retired from professional mixed martial arts last year with an unbeaten record of 29-0. Since then, we have heard a lot about future stars from Russia who could be the “next Khabib”. Most agreed that Islam Makhachev is the Russian’s natural successor.
How good can Islam Makhachev be?
We have all known for some time now that Islam Makhachev could be the next big thing, and against Moises, he should prove it in a meaningful way.
So instead of piling on Nurmagomedov’s comparisons, maybe it’s time to let him go and fend for himself?
He’s more than capable of doing it anyway, but in the context of the lightweight division, there’s very little room for error. He is talking about potentially fighting for the 155-pound belt next year, and with the title photo currently looking incredibly crowded, it will be fascinating to see if that comes to fruition.
Islam Makhachev begins to collect all the pieces of his game; we saw him during his last outing against Drew Dober. If he can maintain the same intensity against Moises, fans could see something special on Saturday night.