Sean O’Malley doubts the Islam Makhachev buzz: “It’s crazy how hyped-up he is, just because Khabib says how good he is”

Sean O'Malley, Islam Makhachev, UFC 280
Mandatory Credit: Chris Unger, Jeff Bottari Zuffa LLC

Sean O’Malley isn’t convinced by the hype surrounding Islam Makhachev. The UFC bantamweight believes that Khabib Nurmogomedov’s influence has played a factor in Makhachev’s rise in the company. 

O’Malley disagrees with Makhachev being labeled as one of the best in the UFC. The 27-year-old will compete on the same card as Makhachev on Oct. 22 at UFC 280. He will face Petr Yan while Makhachev will take on Charles Oliveira for the lightweight title. 

Sean O’Malley Isn’t A Fan of Islam Makhachev

He admits that he hasn’t seen much of Makhachev inside the octagon but still doesn’t see the Russian native as a threat to Oliveira. The #12 bantamweight predicts that Oliveira will finish Makhachev to cap off the pay-per-view. 

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“I see Charles [Oliveira] marching out there with that high front knee doing his thing,” O’Malley told Helen Yee. “Honestly, I haven’t watched a ton of Islam, more of a little bit of his recent stuff, but it’s crazy how hyped-up he is, literally because Khabib says how good he is. Obviously, he’s went out there and performed really well in his last couple of fights too, but we’re so excited about this guy… We’re not super hyped because of all the crazy performances he’s had, it’s more so just because Khabib thinks this guy’s the best in the world. I would love to see Charles go out there and get the job done.” (h/t Sportskeeda)

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UFC Hall of Famer Khabib Nurmogomedov has been outspoken in his support for his long-time training partner. During an appearance on “DC & RC”, Nurmogomedov labeled Makhachev as one of the best in MMA. 

“Islam is the real deal, he’s one of the best in the world,” Nurmogomedov said. “I believe he’s top-10 in pound-for-pound right now. Islam is a little bit quiet, he doesn’t like to talk too much but me and (Daniel Cormier) always try to push him.”

Makhachev has won his past 10 fights, dating back to Sept. 2016. He has notable wins over Dan Hooker, Bobby Green, Thiago Moisés and Drew Dober. He trains at American Kickboxing Academy (AKA), one of the most respected gyms in MMA. 

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Champions like Khabib Nurmogomedov, Daniel Cormier and Luke Rockhold have trained at the California gym. AT UFC 280, the 30-year-old will attempt to prove O’Malley wrong and become AKA’s latest fighter to claim UFC gold.