Islam Makhachev plays down Khabib Nurmagomedov similarities pre-UFC 302: ‘He had his time, now it’s mine’

Islam Makhachev plays down Khabib Nurmagomedov comparions pre UFC 302 he had his time now it's mine

Undisputed lightweight champion, Islam Makhachev has played down comparisons between himself and former division titleholder, Khabib Nurmagomedov – claiming that while the Hall of Fame star had his time of dominance, it’s not his time to take the mantle.

Makhachev, the current undisputed lightweight gold holder and the current pound-for-pound number one ranked fighter under the banner of the promotion, is slated to return to the Octagon this weekend in New Jersey, headlining UFC 302.

Islam Makhachev backed to retire from the UFC by end of next year he's cleared out 155 pounds
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Taking on former interim titleholder, Dustin Poirier, Russian standout, Makhachev will look to land his third consecutive successful defense of the divisional crown – following back-to-back victories over former undisputed featherweight kingpin, Alexander Volkanovski

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Islam Makhachev talks Khabib Nurmagomedov comparisons

And receiving a host of comparisons to Nurmagomedov – who coached Makhachev to a stunning vacant championship victory against former gold holder, Charles Oliveira back in 2022, played down their similarities, claiming his time is now.

Dustin Poirier takes issue with Joe Rogan's commentary after UFC 299 win I can't believe he said that
Mandatory Credit: Chris Unger – Zuffa LLC

“People say I’m Khabib’s (Nurmagomedov) protégé,” Islam Makhachev said during UFC 302 Countdown. “But now I have the belt, and now I’m number one in the pound-for-pound rankings. Khabib had his time, and right now, it’s my time. 

As for Poirier, the Louisana veteran will look to land undisputed lightweight spoils at the third time of trying – earning his showdown with Makhachev following an impressive rallying win back in March at UFC 299.

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Drawing surging Frenchman, Benoit Saint-Denis in a co-main event slot, Poirier turned in an impressive second round knockout win over the Nimes native, before staking his claim – ultimately successfully for a shot at the divisional crown. 

Poirier first landed interim lightweight gold back in 2019 in a decision rematch victory against former featherweight kingpin, Max Holloway.

Who wins this weekend in Newark: Islam Makhachev or Dustin Poirier?