In a recent interview with Russian sports outlet RT Sports MMA, Islam Makhachev was asked if his teammate and longtime friend Khabib Nurmagomedov shared his motorcycle riding hobby.
Makhachev said he took up motorcycle riding when Makhachev's coach and Khabib's father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov was hospitalized in 2020. However, Khabib disapproves of the activity due to the risks involved.
Islam Makhachev added that he intended to give it up as soon as his coach returned.
"We bought him (Khabib Nurmagomedov) a motorcycle but he has no time for it. Maybe he'll ride it later. I started riding motorcycles when Abdulmanap was hospitalized. I thought when he gets out, my fun will be over. I was 99% sure he'd first give me a warning and if he was that again, he'd set the bike on fire."
Khabib Nurmagomedov's concerns over Islam Makhachev's motorcycle riding are valid. Makhachev is one of the most praised lightweight prospects in the UFC, and he is seen as the heir to Nurmagomedov's dominance in the division.
Mountain bike riding involves the risk of serious injuries that can have long-term adverse effects, especially for a professional athlete like Islam Makhachev.
Makhachev told RT Sport that Khabib's reaction to his riding was exactly what the late Abdulmanap's reaction would be if he returned. He added that he was taking the necessary care to protect himself from mishaps.
"I was thinking that I'd have to get rid of the motorcycle because my trainer won't like it. Now Khabib says the same thing. I understand that I have to be responsible and try to be careful. I bought expensive gear to protect myself."
Islam Makhachev must look at Frank Mir as the red flag
Two-time UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir had a motorcycle accident back in 2004 when he was still the champion. The injuries sustained by Mir kept him on the sidelines for almost two years.
After starting his MMA career with an 8-1 professional record, Mir's return to competition following the accident and subsequent career trajectory went downhill.
The former champ ended his tenure with the UFC with an unimpressive 16-11 record (18-11 overall) and went 10-10 in his fights after the mishap.
MMA experts and Frank Mir's teammates have attributed his unsuccessful run to irreversible damage caused by the accident.