Islam Makhachev has revealed that he believes Khabib Nurmagomedov is the best grappler in mixed martial arts.
Makhachev, 29, is currently riding a seven-fight win streak. His last victory came against Drew Dober at UFC 259. It marked yet another step up in competition for him, with many believing that he has now earned his shot at facing a top contender within the lightweight division.
Makhachev’s Khabib appreciation
Of course, the lightweight division is going through a transition period following Khabib Nurmagomedov’s retirement from MMA. The Dagestani initially retired from the sport at UFC 254, but after months of speculation and Dana White's attempts to bring him back, it was officially confirmed that “The Eagle” is done for good.
During a recent interview with RT Sport, Makhachev further confirmed Khabib’s greatness when asked about who the best grappler he’s ever seen is.
“I’m not sure, I haven’t worked with a lot of guys. I’ve grappled with some people and honestly I’ve never met anyone with the same control as Khabib. Everyone says his control is next level but all wrestlers are shocked after training with him.”
Makhachev was also asked whether he’s ever grappled with Kamaru Usman, to which he responded that he was slated to grapple with the welterweight champion, only for plans to fall apart at the last minute.
While we all know and understand Khabib Nurmagomedov's influence in mixed martial arts and the UFC as a whole, his full impact will be felt in a few years. After all, there’s a rising crop of stars from Dagestan who are breaking through the ranks after taking inspiration from Khabib's stature and accomplishments in the UFC.
Islam Makhachev is one such example, with a majority of fans and experts believing he could be just a few fights away from a title shot. He’s a warrior, and with Khabib by his side, he will relish his chances at an opportunity to fight for the belt.