- Islam Makhachev is the #14 ranked fighter in the UFC’s stacked lightweight division.
- On Saturday, Islam will fight Drew Dober on the main card of UFC 259.
- Many fighters now expect to see Islam Makhachev fighting for a world title in the near future.
This Saturday, the UFC is set to hold one of its biggest events of all-time. On the main card, two exciting lightweights will be looking to move up the rankings. Today, we’ll discuss why so many people are interested in Islam Makhachev fighting for a world championship soon.
There is plenty of hype surrounding Makhachev. He’s a long-time training partner of Khabib Nurmagomedov and has an extremely well-rounded skill set. His true standing in the lightweight division will be established after the fight this Saturday.
Here’s what you need to know about this matchup!
Khabib Nurmagomedov Continues to Claim He is Retired
Between 2012 and 2020, Khabib Nurmagomedov put on one of the most impressive UFC runs in history. He captured the lightweight title in 2018. He then defended his title against three extremely tough challengers and retired from MMA after his final victory in October of last year.
Many felt this retirement would be short-lived. Throughout MMA’s history, fans have seen a huge number of fighters announce retirement, only to return to the sport just a year or two later. Even UFC President Dana White felt that Khabib would eventually return to the fight game.
Even today, Nurmagomedov remains the UFC lightweight champion. UFC officials seem determined to get “The Eagle” back in the cage. He doesn’t seem interested, however, and doubled-down on his retirement to the media this week.
“Every day I woke up in the morning and started training, and in the evening my body was exhausted, because I had brought it to the limit,” Khabib said. “I just want to live a life in which I can get at least a little sleep before lunchtime, to live for myself and not devote myself 100 percent to sports.”
Some fans are likely disappointed by this news. It’s not a huge surprise to hear that Khabib plans to remain retired, though. He’s made an extraordinary amount of money both in and outside the cage and can likely choose to do whatever he wants now.
That doesn’t mean Dagestan’s best fighters are taking a break. On Saturday, one of Khabib’s most competitive training partners will be looking to move one step closer to a title fight.
Daniel Cormier Expects to See Islam Makhachev Fighting for a Belt Soon
Dagestan has solidified its standing as one of the best combat sports areas on the planet. This relatively small area of Russia has produced many of the best fighters to ever compete in MMA. Islam Makhachev represents the new wave of elite fighters coming from this territory.
Hardcore MMA fans have known about Makhachev for years. He made his UFC debut in 2015 and has since racked up a 7-1 record with the promotion. He’s riding a six-fight win streak right now and is ranked #14 in the lightweight division.
Islam is clearly a very talented fighter. It appears Daniel Cormier thinks he’s more than just talented. The former two-division champion released a statement on Instagram and indicated that Makachev could be the next big thing in the UFC.
“For 10 straight years, we’ve had title fights out of AKA,” Cormier wrote. “How do we continue that? Islam is the guy. We all believe right now Islam is our next best chance to have someone great.”
That is extremely high praise from the AKA team captain. Cormier has been singing Makhachev’s praises for many years. With Khabib now gone, Islam can truly set his sights on the UFC lightweight championship. He’s facing an extremely tough test the next time he steps into the cage.
Fans will get to see Islam Makhachev fighting Drew Dober this Saturday night. It’s a fantastic clash of different fighting styles. Many are now choosing to bet on how this fight plays out!
Breaking Down the Odds on Makhachev vs. Dober
Every single fighter in the lightweight division’s top-15 is elite. Any one of these fighters could find themselves competing for the belt within a year. Some believe that Saturday’s bout between Islam Makhachev and Drew Dober could determine the true dark horse of the division.
Bovada, one of the world’s best online sportsbooks, is now offering odds on this matchup. These odds heavily favor one man. An upset certainly isn’t out of the question with this exciting bout, though.
Islam Makhachev comes into this bout as the -360 favorite. He has been nothing short of perfect since 2016. With elite grappling and underrated power on the feet, he has what it takes to be a future champion.
Drew Dober is one of the most dangerous fighters in the lightweight division. He’s an elite kickboxer and has won his past three bouts via stoppage. At +270, he could be a fantastic underdog bet for fans to go with.
This is an extremely important fight for the lightweight division moving forward. Many will be curious to see how Khabib’s protege manages to fare inside the cage. Stay tuned for more news on this bout before it takes place!
Do you think we’ll see Islam Makhachev fighting for the title this year? How do you think he will fare against Drew Dober? Let us know in the comments section below.