Can Islam Makhachev Take the Place of Khabib Nurmagomedov? Georges St-Pierre’s Head Coach Gives His Verdict

Published 02/22/2021, 12:16 AM EST
CALGARY, AB – JULY 28: Islam Makhachev of Russia celebrates after his submission victory over Kajan Johnson of Canada in their lightweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Scotiabank Saddledome on July 28, 2018 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


Famed MMA coach, Firas Zahabi, spoke out and revealed his candid views on the UFC lightweight, Islam Makhachev. Tristar’s Head Coach is a commenter on all things MMA, and he’s in touch with the happenings of the sport. Chiefly, Makhachev’s true potential at 155-pounds is often discussed and Zahabi decided to weigh in.

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Islam Makhachev comes in as one of the biggest championship prospects out of Russia who trains alongside Khabib Nurmagomedov. He’s looked extremely dominant throughout his UFC run and has managed to set up a meaningful career projection for himself. Moreover, there’s a lot to be fighting for when it comes to picking up the mantle of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s legacy.

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Firas Zahabi comments on Islam Makhachev’s ceiling

Zahabi responded to a listener of his podcast and candidly shared his views on whether Islam Makhachev can serve as Khabib’s replacement in the UFC. Georges St-Pierre’s Head Coach certainly believes so and thrust lofty expectations onto Islam’s shoulders.

BOSTON, MA – JANUARY 20: Islam Makhachev kicks Gleison Tibau in the first round of their Lightweight fight during UFC 220 at TD Garden on January 20, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

He said, “Yes, Islam Makhachev, in my opinion, he’s a lot better than people know. He hasn’t had that breakout fight where every fan knows who he is. The hardcore fan knows who he is, we know how good he is. It’s just that he hasn’t had that super media fight which I think he’ll have eventually and that could skyrocket his career and get him to a title shot which in my opinion he already deserves.”

The Successor to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s throne?

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The Eagles MMA standout hasn’t had the massive opportunity to scrap a big name in his career thus far. He was supposed to the main event against Rafael dos Anjos, however, an injury sidelined him. Now, he will face Drew Dober on the main card for UFC 259 and will receive a meaningful amount of exposure.

BOSTON, MA – JANUARY 20: Islam Makhachev of Russia celebrates after his knockout victory over Gleison Tibau of Brazil in their lightweight bout during the UFC 220 event at TD Garden on January 20, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

He hasn’t fought since September 2019, and he desperately needs to return to action and remind fans of his presence. Makhachev is riding a six-fight win streak and is inching his way towards the division’s upper echelon. The Dagestani lightweight will be looking for a clean sweep of Dober so he can mount a championship run in 2022.

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What do you make of Zahabi’s assessment of the fight? Could he get that super media fight at UFC 259 where three titles will be on the line?

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Darryl Pinto

1797 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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