UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev is not concerned with Khabib Nurmagomedov’s time away from coaching. Last month, “The Eagle”  shared an Instagram post indicating his retirement from coaching mixed martial arts. 

After retiring from in-ring competition in 2020, Nurmagomedov spent his time cornering and training multiple fighters, including Makhachev. The 34-year-old wrapped the UFC lightweight belt around Makhachev, who won the title against Charles Oliveira last October at UFC 280. 

Now, Makhachev will be without his Hall of Fame coach in his corner but it’s not something new. He’s been without his coach a couple of times in his career. Despite the loss, he understands how much Nurmagomedov wants to spend time with his family. 

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I understand him, because he was retired, but he still traveled a lot with the whole team,” Makhachev told Fox Sports Australia. “And when somebody has a fight, he goes to the training camp, went to the other things. And when you retire, you want to spend time with your family. For example, 2022 he spent just two months at home with his family, but all the other time he traveled a lot. That’s why he wants to spend more time with his family.” (h/t MMA Junkie)

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Islam Makhachev Wants To Be The No.1 Fighter

Now, the Russian star wants to cement his legacy in the history books and become the No.1 pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC. The only fighter standing in his way is featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. The two stars will fight on Feb.11 in Perth, Australia at UFC 284. The champion versus champion showdown will be for the UFC lightweight title.

Every fighter wants to be pound-for-pound (No. 1), not just champion,” Makhachev said. “I am champion right now, but I have new goal, new target. I want to be pound-for-pound king, because this is, I think, a dream for all fighters. When you’re pound-for-pound world champion, this means a lot.” (h/t MMA Junkie)

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Marc Ray has lived his entire life in Houston, Texas, where he was born, raised and attended the University of Houston, studying broadcast journalism. As you may imagine, he spends much of his time watching mixed martial arts as part of his daily routine — not only to pump himself up, but also because he deeply enjoys the sport. Ray has worked for Houston Public Media, where he interned in the newsroom and produced community stories. Ray also created sports features in Houston for El Gato Media Network and occasionally produced content for an internship at AARP.