Khamzat Chimaev's beef with Khabib Nurmagomedov was a big talking point this year. Now, Islam Makhachev has given his two cents on the rivalry.
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov called Khabib a "UFC Project," diminished his accomplishments and claimed that Chimaev said he'd smash 'The Eagle' in a fight. 'Borz' later clarified that his words were a bit twisted.
Speaking to Russian outlet Championat, Makhachev claimed Chimaev may have regretted what he apparently said about the former UFC lightweight champion.
"Honestly I do not know. When I saw Khamzat - we trained together in Las Vegas - I didn't think there would be any statements about our team. Maybe he just changed his mind, maybe there were hasty statements. After that, I also noticed that he somehow disappeared. I think he himself regretted his words, because many condemned him. When we met, Chimaev was a different person."
Even before his official retirement, Khabib Nurmagomedov was accompanying his American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) teammates to their bouts as a cornerman. 'The Eagle' has coached five fights from the sidelines this year in the UFC and his trainees haven't lost a single encounter. The most recent of which occurred during the UFC 267 early prelims earlier today.
Khabib's been with Islam Makhachev during both of his victories in 2021 so far, which were against Drew Dober and Thiago Moises.
Both Islam Makhachev and Khamzat Chimaev are fighting at UFC 267
Islam Makhachev (20-1) is on an eight-fight winning streak in the UFC. He's finished four of his last six contests inside the octagon.
The Dagestani will now take on fellow ranked lightweight contender Dan Hooker at UFC 267 later today. A victory for either man could see them fight for the title next, or at the very least compete in a title eliminator.
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Meanwhile, Khamzat Chimaev (9-0) will feature on the same main card in a welterweight clash against No.11-ranked Li Jingliang. A victory for 'Borz' would propel him into the 170-pound top-15.