‘He’s Not Khabib’- John McCarthy Shuts Down the Comparison Between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev

Published 07/19/2021, 8:49 AM EDT


Former MMA referee John McCarthy spoke out on his podcast platform and did a deep dive on Islam Makhachev’s win. Makhachev headlined his first fight card against Thiago Moises and dominated the Brazilian en route to a submission victory. Islam Makhachev secured the tap in round four of an RNC and extended his win streak to eight.

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While talking about his victory on Saturday night, ‘Big’ John spoke out on the frequently made comparison between Makhachev and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Now that ‘The Eagle’ is in Makhachev’s corner serving as his mentor, fans are comparing both men even more than before. McCarthy made it clear that he doesn’t believe that Islam Makhachev is on Khabib Nurmagomedov’s level while conversing with Josh Thompson.

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“Islam’s good, [but] he’s not Khabib. He’s not, and it’s the same thing what the UFC was doing is they’re trying to build him up that he’s the next guy, he’s the one in line. He’s the one that Khabib steps down for so he can be the champion and all that stuff.”

“Look he’s not Khabib, he’s not that. He’s a good fighter, I’m not saying he’s not. Possibly almost a great fighter.  He’s got great talent and skills, [but] he just can’t dominate a fighter the way that Khabib does.”

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It’s hard to deny that Makhachev isn’t on an elite level after watching him battle it out against Moises. Thiago Moises came in as a ranked opponent and Makhachev made it clear that Moises wouldn’t be stealing his spot. With 8 straight wins under his belt, Makhachev is looking through the pipeline at some massive fights.

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For a long time now the MMA community has anointed Makhachev as Khabib Nurmagomedov’s successor given their proximity. The debate as to who is ultimately better will continue to rage on so long as Makhachev wins.

Not to mention, he called out Rafael Dos Anjos after his win, a fighter that Nurmagomedov also fought back in the day. Khabib Nurmagomedov’s legacy is one that will be hard to stand up against, however, Islam Makhachev is certainly on his way.

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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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