Hailing from the 'Land of Warriors', both Islam Makhachev and Khabib Nurmagomedov have built reputations for being indomitable foes, be it inside the UFC octagon or during sparring sessions. However, in a recent interview with John Morgan, Makhachev opened up about the struggles of sparring with the former UFC lightweight kingpin.
Months removed from his retirement, Khabib Nurmagomedov has seemingly put on a significant amount of weight, making it a stout challenge for the likes of Islam Makhachev to go toe-to-toe with 'The Eagle' while sparring.
"Now I cannot sparring (sic) with him because he is too big. But I can wrestle with him, I can do some grappling. But now he is so big! No more 155(lbs)," admitted Makhachev.
The Dagestani phenom is seemingly enjoying his retirement to the fullest. Free from the bonds of gut-wrenching weight cuts and prolonged fight camps, Khabib Nurmagomedov has the opportunity to indulge in activities he truly enjoys.
One would be naught to suggest that 'The Eagle' did not cherish his time as an active fighter. However, breaking free from the monotony and hardships that come with being the top dog in the premier MMA promotion in the world is something atKhabib Nurmagomedov always looked forward to.
Watch Islam Makhachev's interview below:
Khabib Nurmagomedov- So close yet so far!
Fresh off a win against Justin Gaethje, 'The Eagle' sent shock waves down the MMA circuit when he announced his decision to hang his gloves up for good. However, it would be a cold day in hell before Khabib Nurmagomedov parted ways with combat sports as a whole.
Serving as a mentor and coach to up-and-coming fighters like Islam Makhachev, Khabib Nurmagomedov has been a vital part of their journey in the UFC. His compatriot detailed the role 'The Eagle' plays in their professional and personal lives.
"Now he is more like coach. He always support. (Throughout) camps he's with us. He don't have fight but he came and help everybody," said Makhachev with a hint of reverence in his voice.
Life as a civilian is seemingly doing Khabib Nurmagomedov and his compatriots a world of good. Getting the opportunity to learn from a fighter who is arguably the best ever is something that only the fortunate receive.
A boon to novice fighters, Khabib Nurmagomedov has positioned himself as a perennial presence in their lives. What's more, it is certainly something that they will forever be grateful for.