Islam Makhachev confirms nasty staph infection battle before UFC 302 title fight win: ‘I didn’t train’

Islam Makhachev confirms battle with staph infection ahead of UFC 302 title fight I didn't train

Off the back of his undisputed lightweight title defense against Dustin Poirier overnight in New Jersey, Islam Makhachev has confirmed he entered his UFC 302 main event return battlting with a staph infection in his leg, amid speculation over an apparent injury during fight week.

Makhachev, the current undisputed lightweight champion and pound-for-pound number one ranked fighter in the organization, successfully defended his title overnight in a return to action against ex-interim gold holder, Poirier.

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Dealing with some significant adversity in their matchup in Newark, Makhachev dealt with a massive laceration on his forehead in the fourth round – with Poirier slicing the Russian with a sharp elbow during a scramble in the frame. 

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However, in the fifth and final round, sweeping Poirier following an impressive ankle pick, Makhachev immediately latched onto a D’Arce choke, forcing an eventual tap from the Lafayette veteran, who later went unconscious.

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And ahead of UFC 302, speculation was rife that American Kickboxing Academy staple, Makhachev was battling with a supposed staph infection in his left leg ahead of his fight with Poirier – with former two-weight champion, Conor McGregor pointing to an apparent issue – with some choice words for the Makhachkala native to boot.

Conor McGregor rips Islam Makhachev amid speculation over infection pre UFC 302 this inbred lives with staph
Mandatory Credit: Las Vegas Review Journal & Zuffa LLC

Islam Makhachev confirms battle with staph infection

Confirming his issue, Makhachev revealed that he was unable to train for some time ahead of UFC 302, as he dealt with a nasty staph infection.

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“Yes, I had some,” Islam Makhachev told UFC Eurasia of his staph infection. “Also, that photo went viral. I had a staph infection. It was bothering me a bit for a week or so when we arrived here in the US. It did distract me a little so I didn’t train, I had some rest to make sure it wouldn’t get worse.”

“I saw the doctors – I don’t think it really affected me,” Islam Makhachev explained. “I just had to take some time off, and then got back to training. Not at all [consider pulling out of the fight at UFC 302]. After coming such a long way, we didn’t even think about pulling – unless the doctors would [encourage me to].” 

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What are your thoughts on Islam Makhachev’s performance at UFC 302?