Under normal circumstances, Islam Makhachev would face a large amount of pressure on Saturday. He won the lowest number of punches per minute in UFC history at 0.77, ranking 10th in the lightest of the seven-fight winning streak. He is a -700 favorite against Tiago Moises and is in his first UFC major fight.
But Makhachev is not fighting under normal circumstances due to his relationship with former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Khabib’s late father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov.
During an in-depth conversation with ESPN, Nurmagomedov, who officially “officially” retired from the UFC in March, said he and his father did not talk about the exact retirement period for Habib, but Abdulmanap laid the groundwork for his son, and that includes Makhachev.
“He told me,‘ Once you finish, Islam should come, ’” Nurmagomedov said. “You’re done. Islam must come at the same time, because there are three years between children.”
This plan did not materialize because Habib promised his mother that he would fight only once without his father in his corner. This fight took place in October, overcoming Justin Gaetje. Nurmagomedov finished his career defending the UFC championship in three lightweight categories and setting a record of 29: 0.
Today, Maxachev is ranked 9th in the UFC official lightweight division. In an interview with ESPN, Nurmagomedov seemed to make fun of him: “I told Islam, ‘You’re a little late, brother,'” Nurmagomedov said. “You only finished 10th. You should have finished 3rd.” This guy is late. ”
Nurmagomedov, who will be in Makhachev’s corner for the main event of UFC Vegas 31 on Saturday, feels the fight could prove that 29-year-old Makhachev is the future UFC champion.
“This Saturday you have to prove yourself,” Nurmagomedov said. “Show the world who Islam Makhachev is. Not just Habib’s brother. No. It must be his own. Islam Maxachev. The best in the world. Eight-fight winning streak. He beat everyone.
“This guy has to fight for the title because he’s my brother or a friend or something. He is very good. “