In a recent interview with ESPN, Khabib Nurmagomedov professed his desire for his protege and student Islam Makhachev to be given a title shot at the UFC lightweight championship, saying he believes that Makhachev is ready and deserves the opportunity – especially after his recent win against Bobby Green and his incredible success in the lightweight division. Makhachev handily beat Green in a recent match at the UFC Fight Night that was originally supposed to be a face-off title eliminator between Makhachev and Beneil Dariush. Unfortunately, due to injury, Dariush had to pull out of the match and Green was his unlucky replacement.
Following the Makhachev’s victory, Nurmagomedov said that there are “levels, always. There’s fighters, champion, elite. I think Bobby Green is a fighter. But Islam [Makhachev] is elite… This is what I feel when I train with him long time, 20 years we’ve spent together, how he’s successful in amateur career and how he moved to professional.”
Makhachev is not ranked third in the lightweight division, putting him in spitting distance of the title that Charles Oliveira is the holder of. However, that title could swap hands from Oliveira to Justin Gaethje, the currently highest ranked fighter in the division, in an upcoming match between the two on May 7.
It’s Nurmagomedov’s opinion that whoever the victor of that fight is should face Makhachev in Abu Dhabi in October of this year.
‘I’m really focused on Islam fighting winner of Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje, end of this year,” Nurmagomedov said. “Make a very big show in Abu Dhabi. This place, Islam going to fight for the title.”
“Islam take this like a real champion. Like he say, ‘Doesn’t matter who is opponent the goal is going to stay the same. Same goal, different opponent.’