Khabib Nurmagomedov's coach, Javier Mendes revealed that UFC lightweight, Islam Makachev is the only fighter to beat 'The Eagle' in a sparring session. According to Javier Mendes, Khabib Nurmagomedov has never lost to any of his sparring partners in nine years of training with the exception of Islam Makachev.
Discussing Islam's upcoming fight against Drew Dober at UFC 259, Javier Mendez told Helen Yee in a recent interview:
He matches up great with all of them. And listen, this is no secret. I’ve always said…when people talk to me about Khabib sparring and I say he’s never lost a sparring session in the history of sparring with me, never. And I would say he does lose a round here and there, and the one thing that I have never said, (against) who. And the person ‘who’ is Islam (Makachev). He’s the only one that’s ever won a round against Khabib, ever. Ever. He’s the only one that’s ever done it. No one’s ever beat Khabib in a round. In all the years that he’s been here with me, the nine years, non one’s ever beat him, never. So if Islam is winning a round here and there, how good is Islam.
Khabib Nurmagomedov and Islam Makachev share a bond
Islam Makachev and Khabib Nurmagomedov go back a long way since their days in Dagestan. The duo continue to be team mates till date at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose and Eagle's MMA in Russia where Javier Mendes is also the head coach.
Khabib Nurmagomedov has been rooting for Islam Makachev as the next big thing at lightweight and is of the opinion that top ranked fighters have been avoiding him. Islam Makachev was scheduled to fight Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 254 last year, where Khabib Nurmagomedov defended his lightweight title against Justin Gaethje. However the fight never came to fruitition as RDA tested postive for Covid-19. In a press conference leading up to UFC 254, Khabib Nurmagomedov said-
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I think because of how dangerous he is in the cage, and I think because of his ranking. A lot of guys like top five, top six, top seven don’t wanna fight him because it is a risk for them. Right now, Islam’s position is very hard, but after one or two fights, everything is going to change. A lot of people are gonna want this fight after one year. Stay ready, keep training, and keep fighting. This is what he (Makhachev) needs right now.