The rising lightweight contender Islam Makhachev is often compared to his close friend and former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. The relationship between Islam and Khabib is more than just training partners as both the fighters have known each other since childhood, having trained under the renowned coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov.
While fight fans have always drawn similarities between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev for the last several years, it has grown leaps and bounds after Nurmagomedov’s retirement. Khabib believes that Islam has what it takes to become the UFC lightweight champion and has also stated that he has the ability to finish both Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier.
Just like Nurmagomedov, Islam Makhachev is extremely dominant inside the Octagon. Makhachev’s row of recent wins has earned him the reputation of the next Khabib Nurmagomedov and rightfully so.
What makes Khabib Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev so similar?
Khabib Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev are both combat sambo world champions, having trained the sport under the tutelage of Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov since their childhood.
Just like Khabib, Islam likes to keep the fight on the ground and use his elite grappling skills to dominate his opponents. It won’t be wrong to say that the sport of combat sambo, which involves both striking and wrestling transitions well into the world of mixed martial arts, and both Islam and Khabib are testimony to that.
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However, according to many fighters, Nurmagomedov is more aggressive on the ground than Islam. However, former dual champion Daniel Cormier has stated that Makhachev is a better “pure wrestler” than Khabib, however, it is the former lightweight champion’s ability to mix it with striking and submissions that sets him apart from Islam Makhachev.
Additionally, Nurmagomedov has shown better striking than Makahchev and likes to keep an aggressive pace as compared to Islam Makhachev. However, Makhachev does an impressive job of neutralizing his opponents, to wear them down. While Nurmagomedov likes to ground and pound, Makahchev prefers wearing his opponents down to get a submission win.
Be that as it may, Makhachev has shown great improvement in his last few fights, and the sky looks to be the limit for the soaring lightweight contender who continues to prove his contention as the next lightweight champion of the world.