Islam Makhachev credits Khabib Nurmagomedov with paving the way for his success inside the Octagon

Islam Makhachev credits Khabib Nurmagomedov with paving the way for his UFC title reign

Islam Makhachev credits Khabib Nurmagomedov with paving the way for him to become a UFC champion.

On Saturday, June 1, the ‘Dagestani Destroyer’ will return to the Octagon when the promotion heads back to Newark, New Jersey for UFC 302. Emanating from the Prudential Center, Makhachev will headline the event as he puts his 155-pound crown on the line against division fan favorite Dustin Poirier.

Islam Makhachev

It will be Makhachev’s third time defending the belt after scoring back-to-back victories over former featherweight king Alexander Volkanovski last year.

Speaking with former UFC champions Kamaru Usman and Henry Cejudo on the Pound 4 Pound podcast, Makhachev credited ‘The Eagle’ for carving out a path to the lightweight title for both of them.

“For me, it’s more easy because Khabib showed me the way,” Makhachev said. “I just have to follow, do what he did. Now he retired but he still pushes us. He comes after tomorrow to the [UFC 302] camp, and it’s gonna be like last 10 days. But I know, he will come and the last 10 days is gonna be so crazy.”      

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After defeating Al Iaquinta at UFC 223 to win the lightweight belt, Nurmagomedov successfully defended the title three times, defeating Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, and Justin Gaethje along the way. In October 2020, he laid down both his gloves and his gold, retiring from the sport following the passing of his father and coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov.

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Islam Makhachev

Islam Makhachev lives up to the legacy

While fans are still holding out hope that Khabib Nurmagomedov will return one day in search of a 30th career win, Islam Makhachev has more than lived up to the legacy left behind by ‘The Eagle.’ Today, the ‘Dagestani Destroyer’ is a near-perfect 25-1 in mixed martial arts with 14 of his wins coming under the UFC banner.

Makahchev is currently listed as the No. 1 ranked P4P fighter in the world.

Dustin Poirier will look to change that in The Garden State.