UFC 259: Is Islam Makhachev the next Khabib?

UFC 259: Is Islam Makhachev the next Khabib?


UFC 259: Is Islam Makhachev the next Khabib?


Watching Islam fight in the past few years, it is clear he is headed for greatness. The rising lightweight makes the grueling fights seamless and entertaining to watch. After lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, the 3rd highest paid UFC fighter, shockingly announced his retirement, Islam can easily be seen as the next lightweight champion.

This Saturday, Islam will be fighting at UFC 259 in Las Vegas against Drew Dober in a fight that could push him higher in his career. Islam has won his last six UFC fights, two within the first round in 2018. Khabib openly supports Islam and expects him to win and take over the lightweight championship from him.

After Khabib’s UFC 242 win in 2019, he seemingly endorsed Islam during the postfight news conference. He placed his belt before Islam and called him the future champion. Khabib’s confidence in Islam is unwavering. Both Khabib and Islam are products of Khabib’s father, who trained them from amateurs to the elite fighters they are.

Khabib’s retirement announcement has not been fully accepted by the UFC president, who has allowed him to keep the belt as a new champion waits to be unveiled. Although other fighters like Gaethje, Charles Oliveira, Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor, and Michael Chandler are poised to be crowned champions, Khabib is confident that Islam will win the championship.

Islam joined the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) in 2012 alongside Islam Mamedov. Soon after joining the academy, Islam Machachev broke out among the other trainees. He compares to Khabib in many ways. He seemed more ready to join elite fighting champions.

Sep 7, 2019; Abu Dhabi, UAE; Islam Makhachev (red gloves) fights Davi Ramos (blue gloves) during UFC 242 at The Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

Initially, Islam dominated the MMA scene before signing with UFC in 2015. He won his first UFC fight against Leo Kuntz. The fight was so splendid that the UFC management paired him with a seasoned Brazillian striker Andriano Martins. This UFC 192 fight became another win for Islam in October 2015. Islam has not lost a single fight since. 

The former Olympic champion, Cormier, is also rooting for Islam as the next lightweight champion. Even the AKA coach believes that Islam is the man to watch in the lightweight division. After seeing him in training over the years, he has confidence that Islam is headed for greatness. Islam trains with Khabib, and his faith is understandable because he knows how strong a fighter Islam truly is.

Cormier believes that Islam was taking a slow rise to the top because Khabib was the champion. Now that Khabib has announced his retirement, nothing can stop him now. Islam has three fights already scheduled for 2021.

The UFC 259 is his first fight this year, the second fight after Ramadhan, and the last towards the end of the year. Khabib believes that by the end of 2021, Islam will be crowned champion in the lightweight division. 

MMA fights are huge revenue generators through online betting, and you can place your crypto gambling bets on UFC 259. The fight between Khabib and McGregor in 2018 had the highest pay-per-view rate at $2.4 million. Both Khabib and Cormier refer to Islam as “Champion.”  Islam Makhachev is the guy to watch at UFC 259. 

Having produced a champion for UFC for ten years running, the AKA alumni now believe it is time for Islam to take the torch. He is their chance to continue the legacy.

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