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What Makes Dagestani Fighters Exceptional in Wrestling – Islam Makhachev Explains

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Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov with Islam

It won’t be wrong to say that to a huge extent, Dagestani fighters have taken over the world of mixed martial arts, with the small village in Russia making headlines for his incredible pool of mixed martial artists which includes the likes of former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, Islam Makhachev, Zubaira Tukhugov, Umar Nurmagomedov among others.

Islam Makhachev, widely regarded as Khabib’s protege and UFC’s future lightweight champion revealed in a conversation with Matt Serra and Jim Norton on the UFC Unfiltered, what makes Dagestani fighters exceptional wrestlers on the mat. 

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“I think like, 90 percent, like, everybody wrestling because this is like national sport in Dagestan. That’s why people love this sport. We have many, many Olympic champions. And USA have national sport like football, but Dagestan, we have wrestling.”

Makhachev is a former combat sambo world champion and has often stated that the sport of combat sambo transitions well into mixed martial arts and rightfully so. 

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Khabib Nurmagomedov was the first fighter to put Dagestani on the world map. Nurmagomedov’s greatness remains unparalleled in the world of mixed martial arts, and his impeccable record of 29-0 is likely to remain unscathed for years to come. 

What makes fighters like Khabib Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev so dangerous? 

Khabib Nurmagomedov was one of the most dominant champions the world of mixed martial arts has ever seen. With notable wins over the likes of Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor, Justin Gaethje, Rafael dos Anjos among others, Nurmagomedov proved time and again why he will go down as arguably the greatest of all time.

It wasn’t as if nobody knew what Nurmagomedov brought to the Octagon, however, Khabib’s grappling proved to be too much for every fighter who stepped inside the cage against the Dagestani fighter. The same is the case with Islam Makhachev who has remained extremely dominant inside the cage because of his grappling prowess. 

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Khabib Nurmagomedov

Makhachev’s recent victory over a very dangerous Drew Dober shed light on his dominant wrestling game and his ability to wear down his opponents just by his grappling ability. Nurmagomedov’s retirement fight against Division I wrestler Justin Gaethje proved just the same, as Nurmagomedov submitted the then interim lightweight champion in the second round to once again defend his lightweight championship. 

The gameplan is out there, fighters know and understand what Dagestani fighters bring to the table, and yet it has become increasingly difficult to stray them away from their gameplan.

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Critical of Dana White's matchmaking abilities but always in awe of his business acumen, Nikhil Chauhan is always up for a chat related to MMA and Boxing.