Islam Makhachev is one of the most dominant fighters in the UFC lightweight division. He has won his last nine fights in a row and is currently ranked as the number one contender for the title. Many fans and experts consider him as the heir apparent of his friend and mentor, Khabib Nurmagomedov, who retired as the undefeated champion in 2020.
But how is Islam Makhachev related to Khabib Nurmagomedov? Are they brothers, cousins, or just friends? In this article, we will explore the truth behind their brotherly bond and how they became two of the best fighters in the world.
Childhood friends from Dagestan
Islam Makhachev and Khabib Nurmagomedov are not biologically related, but they share a bond that is stronger than blood. They both hail from the Republic of Dagestan, a mountainous region in southern Russia that is known for its rich culture and history of wrestling and martial arts.
Islam and Khabib grew up together in the same village of Sildi, where they started training under the guidance of Khabib’s father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. Abdulmanap was a master of sambo, a Russian martial art that combines judo, wrestling, and striking. He was also a respected coach and mentor who trained many young fighters from Dagestan.
Islam and Khabib were among Abdulmanap’s favorite students, and they developed a close friendship that lasted for over two decades. They trained together, traveled together, and supported each other in their professional careers. They also shared a common faith, as both are devout Muslims who follow the teachings of Islam.
Similar fighting styles and achievements
Islam Makhachev and Khabib Nurmagomedov have very similar fighting styles, as they both rely on their wrestling and grappling skills to dominate their opponents. They are also known for their relentless pressure, cardio, and durability, as they rarely lose a round or get hurt in their fights.
Both fighters have impressive records and achievements in their careers. Islam Makhachev has a record of 21 wins and one loss, with eight wins by submission and three by knockout. He is currently on a nine-fight winning streak, which is the longest active streak in the lightweight division. He has defeated notable fighters such as Thiago Moises, Drew Dober, Davi Ramos, and Arman Tsarukyan.
Khabib Nurmagomedov has a record of 29 wins and no losses, with 11 wins by submission and eight by knockout. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest fighters of all time and the best lightweight in history. He has defeated some of the biggest names in the sport, such as Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, Justin Gaethje, Rafael dos Anjos, and Edson Barboza.
Coach-student relationship after Abdulmanap’s death
In 2020, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov passed away due to complications from COVID-19. His death was a huge loss for Islam Makhachev and Khabib Nurmagomedov, who considered him as their father figure and inspiration. Khabib decided to retire from the sport after his last fight against Justin Gaethje, as he promised his mother that he would not fight without his father.
However, Khabib did not leave Islam behind. He took over the role of his coach and mentor, helping him prepare for his fights and cornering him during his bouts. Khabib has been very vocal about his support for Islam, stating that he is one of the best fighters in the world and that he will become the next champion.
Islam has also expressed his gratitude and admiration for Khabib, saying that he wants to be like him and follow his footsteps. He has dedicated his fights to Khabib and his father, saying that they made him who he is today. He has also stated that Khabib is a tougher coach than his father, as he pushes him harder and expects more from him.
Future prospects and challenges
Islam Makhachev is currently on the verge of getting a title shot against the current champion, Charles Oliveira. He is expected to face him sometime in 2022, after Oliveira defends his belt against Dustin Poirier in December 2021. Islam has already called out Oliveira after his last win over Dan Hooker at UFC 267.
However, Islam will face some tough challenges in his quest for the title. The lightweight division is one of the most stacked and competitive divisions in the UFC, with many talented and dangerous fighters vying for the top spot. Some of them include Justin Gaethje, Michael Chandler, Beneil Dariush, Rafael dos Anjos, Conor McGregor, Tony Ferguson, and Islam’s teammate Islam Makachev.
Islam will have to prove himself against these fighters if he wants to become the champion and cement his legacy. He will also have to deal with the pressure and expectations that come with being compared to Khabib, who set the bar very high for him and his fellow Dagestanis.
However, Islam has shown that he has the skills, the mindset, and the heart to overcome any obstacle. He has also shown that he has the support and guidance of Khabib, who will always be there for him as his friend and coach. Together, they have formed a brotherly bond that is unbreakable and inspiring.