Former two-weight UFC champion, Daniel Cormier has claimed that surging lightweight contender and American Kickboxing Academy teammate, Islam Makhachev is currently the best at his weight worldwide, as the Makhachkala native finds himself linked to a title offing against Charles Oliveira later this year.
Cormier, a former undisputed light heavyweight and heavyweight champion under the UFC banner, headlined UFC 252 in August 2020 in a trilogy rubber match against fellow former undisputed heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic – suffering a unanimous decision loss against the Ohio veteran.
Following the bout, Cormier confirmed his retirement from professional mixed martial arts with immediate effect, bringing an end to a decorated 11-year professional career.
The prominent color commentator for the promotion has since gone to bat for the above-mentioned, Makhachev to challenge former undisputed champion, Oliveira for vacant lightweight spoils before the close of this year – with the two floated for an October showdown on ‘Fight Island’ at UFC 281.
Daniel Cormier boasts Islam Makhachev as the best 155lbs fighter in the world currently
Boasting about the ability of Makhachev, who recorded his tenth consecutive victory back in February courtesy of a first round ground strikes win against Bobby Green, Cormier claimed the AKA staple was the best lightweight operating right now.
“He’s (Islam Makhachev) the best fighter in the world at that weight class (lightweight),” Daniel Cormier said of Islam Makhachev during an interview with MMA Fighting reporter, Damon Martin. “His abilities are just second to none.
According to Cormier, the sheer success and influx of talent from the Dagestan region in recent years across the sport has taken the community by surprise.
“It’s new to the world, but it’s not new to us, the guys that have done international wrestling, guys that have been around the world championships,” Daniel Cormier said. “When I got my third-place medal at the worlds, Russia had maybe five world champs or six, and they had a third (place). Most of those guys were from Dagestan.”
“They just know how to wrestle,” Daniel Cormier explained. “I knew the moment I saw Khabib (Nurmagomedov) and Islam (Makhachev), I was like, ‘Uh-oh’, the Dagestanis are starting to do mixed martial arts, it’s a problem for the world, That’s absolutely what has happened.”