“In 2022 we take back the belt,” Khabib Nurmagomedov vows Islam Makhachev will become the lightweight champion of UFC

Khabib Nurmagomedov talks about Islam Makhachev becoming the champion in 2022.

Khabib Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev
Khabib Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev

Khabib Nurmagomedov is confident that the lightweight belt he vacated in 2020 will come back to his gym in 2022. Khabib shows a lot of confidence in his teammate Islam Makhachev to become the next champion of the UFC lightweight division.

Khabib Nurmagomedov is undoubtedly the greatest lightweight fighter the UFC has seen. The former champion retired in 2020 with a squeaking clean record of 29-0. The fighter has transitioned his career from a fighter to a coach. Another fighter that strikes close to the style of Khabib is his teammate from Dagestan, Islam Makhachev. Islam is predicted to be a future champion in UFC by many experts. Makhachev is coming off an 8-fight winning streak only second to the current champion Charles Oliveira himself.

Islam has been calling out a ranked opponent for a long time and finally, he faces Dan Hooker at UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi. Islan’s friend and now cornerman, Khabib believes if Makhachev defeats Hooker in the coming fight, he deserves to get a title shot. Nurmagomedov went on the latest episode of DC & RC to promote his teammate’s fight. Though Islam is one of the top fighters, Khabib believes he is a bit late to the title shot.

Khabib Nurmagomedov insists Islam to call out a champion

Islam Makhachev Khabib Nurmagomedov
Islam Makhachev

“I told him he a little bit late. He is thirty years. Tomorrow he is going to be thirty years. When I was thirty years, I had already won my title and defended my title. And Islam right now he is ready. But after this fight, next year. In 2022, we are gonna take back this belt to the AKA,” said Khabib. AKA otherwise known as American Kickboxing Academy is the gym that trained and bred many champions like Khabib, Daniel Cormier, and Luke Rockhold. ‘The Eagle’ expects Islam to be on that list next year.

Makhachev is coming off a spectacular finish win against Thiago Moises in July. The Dagestani headlined his first-ever event and put on grappling excellence. His opponent for UFC 267 on the other hand, is coming off a win against Nasrat Haqparast at UFC 266 via unanimous decision. Hooker has a record of 21-10-0 in his career.

Also read: “I don’t like being coach of the year,” Khabib Nurmagomedov talks about being undefeated as a coach