UFC lightweight contender, Michael Chandler has shared his thoughts on the conversation regarding the better division champion between former gold holder, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and recently minted titleholder, Islam Makhachev – ahead of the latter’s UFC 284 headliner in two weeks’ time.
Chandler, the current #5 ranked lightweight contender, has yet to book his next Octagon outing following UFC 281 back in November of last year at Madison Square Garden – suffering a third round rear-naked choke loss to former interim champion, Dustin Poirier.
As for Khabib, the former undisputed lightweight champion retired from active competition back in 2020 – boasting a 29-0 record following a successful title unification win over Justin Gaethje.
And as for Khabib’s protégé, Makhachev, the American Kickboxing Academy staple managed to clinch the vacant lightweight crown back in October against Charles Oliveira. And is slated to headline UFC 284 this month in Perth, Australia – tackling featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski in his first attempted title defense.
Michael Chandler breaks down the comparisons between Khabib and Islam
Breaking down the abilities of both during a recent appearance on Believe You Me, Chandler admitted that while Makhachev is a force to be reckoned with, Khabib brought a gritty and nasty side to his Octagon performance en route to his championship reign – touting him as the better overall fighter.
“Khabib (Nurmagomedov) [is better],” Michael Chandler said. “Only because we haven’t seen – I don’t know if I wanna call it aggression. I think it is aggression. When Khabib fought, and when he bear-hugged somebody, it was aggressive. Like, he wanted to break your spine. Islam (Makhachev), very effective, will take you guys down. But [with Khabib], it was like, ‘I wanna break your spine.’”
“Khabib was very active on top, constantly trying to catch a wrist and do damage,” Michael Chandler explained. “He went from [a] brilliant wrestler, ‘I wanna break your back,’ to like, straight up sledgehammer, ‘I wanna punch a hole through your head,’ while trash talking – that is unheard of.” (Transcribed by MMA News)