Three-division MMA champion ‘proud’ of receiving praise from ‘best in the sport’ Islam Makhachev

Islam Makhachev gave the moniker of being most dangerous to ONE Championship's Anatoly Malykhin. Now, the latter recounts the time the Dagestani texted to congratulate him.

Three-division MMA champion ‘proud’ of receiving praise from ‘best in the sport’ Islam Makhachev

Islam Makhachev and Anatoly Malykhin (Source: IMAGO/Instagram)

ONE FC champion Anatoly “Sladkiy” Malykhin has not given up on chasing history just yet. The 36-year-old from Russia has a historic trio of belts to his name. Consequently, he wants to build on his repertoire of specialties further. Furthermore, it is always a delight and a mark of true sportsmanship spirit to get the nod from a peer like Islam Makhachev!

The ONE heavyweight, light heavyweight, and middleweight titleholder recognizes the media power behind UFC. However, Anatoly Malykhin dumbs down the lack of a talent pool in the UFC. Yet, Islam Makhachev remains a name better than the rest. Hence, support from the reigning lightweight champion matters to him.

[Laughs] It felt great! You know, some people started texting me...Some bad things. coach Johnny [Hutchinson], my wife [Anita]. My whole team has worked so hard [for me]...But some people invalidate it. I do not really care but I see that my wife and Johnny took it to heart...And all of a sudden Islam messaged me...their spirits went up right away! He is currently the best in our sport...and he recognized my achievements. Anyone would be proud of it.
Anatoly Malykhin via Red Corner MMA (@RedCorner_MMA)

Earlier in March, “Sladkiy” snagged a championship strap from Reinier de Ridder for a second time in three fights at ONE Championship 166. He previously won the light-heavyweight title from him. Considered a one-of-a-kind standout at heavyweight, the Russian considers peers Vadim NemkovMagomed AnkalaevMuslim Magomedov, and himself as the best in the world. Conversely, Makhachev is on that list as well now.

Islam Makhachev (26-1 MMA, 15-1 UFC) submitted Dustin Poirier in Saturday’s UFC 302 feature main event. His bloody warfare with the lightweight striker ending in a D’Arce choke at the 2:42 mark of Round 5 will forever hold in history. This also puts him retaining his undisputed gold at a whooping tripe defense. Hence, the three-division champ understands the value behind his name.

Anatoly Malykhin thanked Islam Makhachev for recognition and praise after his win

Three-division ONE MMA world champion Anatoly Malykhin has blitzed through every opponent he could find. Undefeated at 14-0, including six knockout wins for ONE, he just keeps stacking up title wins. “Spartak,” as his name translates, has overcome every opponent he has faced dominantly. His last such win caught the eye of Islam Makhachev.

Islam Makhachev praised Russian ONE heavyweight Anatoly Malykhin after his win
Islam Makhachev praised Russian ONE heavyweight Anatoly Malykhin after his win (Source:

UFC lightweight champion Makhachev praised him in a montage via Instagram Story (@islam_makhachev), billing him as the “Most dangerous guy on the planet.” Subsequently, the fighter out of Kemerovo, Russia, was delighted at the news.

It’s very inspiring to hear that, Islam is the pound-for-pound number-one fighter...I’ve been following him for quite a long time. I used to watch Khabib’s fights, too. To see that, it’s an amazing sign of respect...I’ll quote Islam Makhachev–‘In this game, there are different levels,’...Reinier is great, but I’m on a different level. It’s my coach, my team, my wife, my family. They give me confidence. I leave my whole self out there.
Anatoly Malykhin via a translator at the ONE Championship 166 post-fight interviews

He also mentioned watching Makhachev’s mentor, Khabib Nurmagomedov, during his run as an undefeated lightweight legend. Khabib was a surprise last-minute addition to his UFC 302 camp, helping Makhachev answer ‘Diamond’ and his anti-wrestling strategy.

Much like the duo, Malykhin’s grandfather guided him to winning the bronze medal at the 2013 Russian Freestyle Wrestling championships and gold at the President Cup of Buryatia Republic. He qualified for the UWW European Championships after finishing second at the All-Russian Championships. Much like Makhachev, he also boasts a good standup game, outboxing his rivals. Moreover, he wants to keep the pace going, following suit.

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