Khabib Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev have often been seen together. Khabib revealed that Makhachev used to live next door to him and both the fighters have known each other for more than 20 years. Just like Khabib, even Makhachev has trained under Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov from his early years.
Khabib had said, “Islam lived next door, and we used to meet at the training. We went to the same school, trained in the same gym. Since childhood, we have known each other, almost 20 years.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov, even after his retirement from fighting, is one of the most popular names in MMA. No one has ever seen a champion in the 155lb division as dominant as him. The way he mauls people, and his ability to win every round let alone every fight has made him a superstar. Nobody comes close to him. However, many believe that Islam Makhachev is right up there.
The quality of opposition he has faced during his career and the way he has dominated them has etched his name in the history of the sport in golden letters. Many believe that there can be no other Khabib. They are probably right. No one can do it like him unless it’s his own blood or has trained and lived with him since childhood.
Take, for example, The Eagle’s younger cousin Umar Nurmagomedov, who is also undefeated. Another Nurmagomedov associate who is taking the MMA world by storm is Makhachev. He was touted by many as the next big thing in the Lightweight division for years before he finally laid his hands on the UFC Lightweight title.
Who is Islam Makhachev?
Islam Makhachev is yet another fighter coming out of Dagestan. He was a member of Khabib’s team and grew up with the former fighter and also trained under his late father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov.
Following Khabib’s footsteps, he joined the promotion in 2015. Since then, he has seen gradual growth during the years due to his close friend ruling the division. Reports suggest that since he didn’t want to fight ‘The Eagle’, who is more than a brother to him, he stayed ranked at the 14th spot in the Lightweight rankings.
However, there was no stopping Makhachev after Khabib’s retirement. His path to glory was cleared and achieving glory is exactly what he did. In October 2022, Makhachev earned the UFC Lightweight title by defeating Charles Oliviera at UFC 280.
How is Islam related to Khabib?
Many people continue to think Khabib and Makhachev are brothers or cousins. However, they do not share any such relationship. Although they are like brothers and have grown up together, Khabib and Makhachev are close childhood friends.
They are not blood-related, however, many can say that the bond they share is way beyond the brotherhood. They are more than brothers. After all, years of training together created a special bond between them.
What do Islam’s teammates and coaches say about him?
Way before being a great MMA fighter, Makhachev had been touted as a special talent by his first coach and Eagle’s father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. His previous coach Javier Mendez along with teammates like Daniel Cormier have spoken highly of him and his talent.
Mendez has gone as far as saying that Makhachev was the only person in the whole gym to defeat Khabib during sparring. He has been regularly spoken of to be better than Khabib by their teammates. However, a loss in his record will always prove to be a disadvantage.
Since Makhachev and Nurmagomedov are the products of the same wrestling coach, there’s no doubt that both will be almost equally good at it. But, his stand-up skills are no joke either. DC has praised his skills on the feet and has claimed them to be better than Khabib’s stand-up fighting.