This Saturday, the UFC lightweight champion defends his title against the featherweight champ in the main event of UFC 284, and according to Makhachev’s coach, Javier Mendez, Makhachev also intends to move up a weight class eventually.
“I a hundred percent see that,” Mendez told Submission Radio. “And the reason why I see that is because Islam wishes that. And when he wishes that, he’s gonna will it to happen. So, he’s gonna train, he’s gonna clear out the division like he wants to do, and then he is gonna go for the welterweight title, and whoever that person at that particular time is gonna be, I feel he’s gonna beat.”
The longtime friend and training partner of UFC Hall of Famer Khabib Nurmagomedov, Makhachev was Nurmagomedov’s hand-picked successor to rule over the lightweight division when he retired. Makhachev finally fulfilled that prediction in October, submitting Charles Oliveira to claim the lightweight belt, and Mendez says that pretty soon afterwards, the champ came to him about the possibility of moving up one day.
“This was shortly after, I don’t remember exactly, but after he won the title he was like, yeah, what do you think?” Mendez said. “I said, yeah, and it’s just like with Khabib, I never heard Khabib talk anything about other than lightweight. That’s it. Khabib never said welterweight, middleweight. But in my eyes, what I’ve seen in my eyes in the gym for all the years I’ve had Khabib, Khabib could’ve been the lightweight, the welterweight and the middleweight champion in my eyes.”
But first Makhachev needs to clean out the division and that is still a long way off, and his first title defense will come with added challenges. Aside from facing Volkanovski in the featherweight champion’s backyard, Makhachev also won’t have Nurmagomedov in his corner this weekend, as the Hall of Famer has stepped away from MMA to spend more time with his family. Makhachev’s team insists this won’t play a huge role in the fight, and Mendez says that Nurmagomedov is still giving tips and discussing strategy with he and the champion, even on fight week.
“You know, he’s been calling,” Mendez said. “Yeah, he’s been calling FaceTime. FaceTime. He’ll call me, he’ll text, Islam will call. Actually, those guys don’t really like texting. It’s FaceTime. They like facetime-ing. So, I Facetime him. I send them videos of what’s going on, and he gives me his opinions and he’ll talk to Islam, and him and I will discuss, ‘Hey, can you talk to Islam? Can you do this? Of course, course coach’. He’s already ahead of me. He’s such a good coach that he’s already doing all the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 steps to get Islam mentally prepared.
“But the great thing about Islam is he’s very low maintenance. Almost zero maintenance. He knows everything. It’s like DC said, Khabib looks like his controllers. Like, Islam just goes into, you know, it’s amazing, it’s amazing how he can just go into it. He knows what to do. You don’t have to tell him more than one time.”
UFC 284 takes place this Saturday at the RAC Arena in Perth, Australia.
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Fight week things.
Just watched Volk interview with ESPN about smacking my face etc.
Keep the same energy tomorrow at press conf when you face me
— Makhachev Islam (@MAKHACHEVMMA) February 9, 2023
Max has his priorities right.
Training like Michael Bisping.
Tyron is still chasing it.
If @KSI would ever be a man. And a man of his word. He in his lane. I said my piece and agreed to the terms. What God has for me is for me! He asked me to fight. not chasing a grown man down. Thats borderline bullying https://t.co/2R6oRKYowV
— Tyron T-Wood Woodley (@TWooodley) February 7, 2023
Hmmm, should I:
A – Fight a tired Tyron Woodley that hasn’t won a single boxing fight and got knocked out by Jake Paul by standing still?
B – Fight A pro boxer with a better boxing record than Tommy Fury? https://t.co/rq5PlpUqza
— ksi (@KSI) February 7, 2023
U should fight the person a million person poll said 2 fight. If im so tired then its easy money rt? The same situation when u asked 2 fight me & sent me a contract i agreed 2. U took the easy route w/o tellin me. If u can beat me i’ll retire. If u lose i own 1% of your promotion https://t.co/WeIaY5Luyi
— Tyron T-Wood Woodley (@TWooodley) February 8, 2023
Julius Anglickas (10-3) vs. D. Yagshimuradov (19-7-1); Bellator 292, March 10.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow!
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