Islam Makhachev will return this weekend to take on Thiago Moises at UFC Vegas 31, with many expecting another resounding win for the Russian.
In the build-up to the bout, Islam Makhachev has been made to answer plenty of questions about his relationship with Khabib. In a recent interview, he gave his thoughts on comparisons between himself and ‘The Eagle.’
Answering whether he gets annoyed by comparisons to Khabib, Makhachev said:
“No, because he [Khabib] is a champion. This is not just a champion, this is my big brother. Now he’s my coach too. Through all of my professional career he has been my sparring partner.”
Speaking about Nurmagomedov’s motivational abilities, Islam noted:
“He always pushes everybody and we have to train harder. He always told me, ‘you’re going to be champion.’ I just have to train hard.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov retired from professional mixed martial arts last year with an unbeaten 29-0 record. Ever since, we’ve heard a lot of talk about future stars coming out of Russia who could be the “next Khabib.” Most have agreed that Islam Makhachev is the natural successor to the Russian.
Just how good can Islam Makhachev be?
We’ve all known for quite some time now that Islam Makhachev could be the next big thing, and against Moises, he’s expected to prove that in a big way.
So instead of piling onto the Nurmagomedov comparisons, perhaps it’s time to let him go out there and stand on his own two feet?
He’s more than capable of doing so anyway, but within the context of the lightweight division, there’s very little room for error. He’s talking about potentially fighting for the 155-pound belt next year, and with the title picture currently looking incredibly crowded, it’ll be fascinating to see if that comes to fruition.
Islam Makhachev is starting to put all the pieces in his game together; we saw that in his most recent outing against Drew Dober. If he can maintain that same intensity against Moises, fans could see something special on Saturday night.