“Will Islam Still Have That Chip on His Shoulder?”: Khabib Nurmagomedov Ditching Makhachev Before Volkanovski Fight Raises Serious Concerns in Henry Cejudo’s Mind

Published 01/25/2023, 3:56 AM EST
MOSCOW, RUSSIA – NOVEMBER 8, 2019: MMA fighter Islam Makhachev ahead of a weigh-in prior to the UFC Fight Night 163 at the CSKA Arena. Valery Sharifulin/TASS (Photo by Valery SharifulinTASS via Getty Images)

Current UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev will be defending his title against Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284 in Perth. This highly anticipated bout is guaranteed to be a true test of skill and will between Makhachev’s grappling and Volkanovski’s striking. Makhachev has been on a roll in the UFC with 11 consecutive wins. ‘The Great‘ is no slouch himself with his 21-fight win streak showcasing his dominance. While Makhachev has embarked on a meteoric rise under the tutelage of all-time great Khabib Nurmagomedov, ‘The Eagle’s’ retirement altogether from MMA has cast doubts on the 31-year-old’s invincible aura.

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)

Future Hall of Famer Henry Cejudo is uncertain whether Khabib’s absence will play a role in his protégé’s first title defense.

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Will Khabib Nurmagomedov’s absence in the corner affect Islam Makhachev at UFC 284?

In his latest YouTube video, ‘Triple C’ raised an important question. The former UFC flyweight and bantamweight champion said, “Will Islam still have that chip on his shoulder? Will he still have that motivation like he did of actually becoming the best in the world?

Cejudo acknowledged that Makhachev is going up against a smaller opponent, although Volkanovski shouldn’t be underestimated as he has been undefeated for almost a decade.

However, ‘Triple C’ noted that Javier Mendez, Makhachev’s coach, played a similar role throughout his career. The American fighter pointed out that some questions remain unanswered and it will prove to be interesting to see how it plays out at the RAC Arena on February 12.

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Henry Cejudo believes Alexander Volkanovski has more than a chance to win

Henry Cejudo gave his two cents on the upcoming champion vs champion bout, hinting that the challenger now has a better shot at becoming the UFC’s fifth champ-champ. He said, “I still do believe Islam will win, but now I can give Alexander Volkanovski more than a chance… To not seeing you defend it in a super fight, how is it that Islam is going to perform? Do I believe he’ll still win? I do.”

There are several differing narratives in this fight, but one thing is for certain. Fans will be treated to an absolute spectacle when these two giants collide in February.

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What do you think of Henry Cejudo’s opinion on the upcoming UFC 284 main event? Let us know in the comments below.

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Himakshu Vyas

291 articles

Himakshu Vyas is a Combat Sports author at Essentiallysports. He is passionate about sports, with soccer and MMA being the sports he is most involved in. Aside from that, he follows the global soccer scene.

Edited By: Amal Joyce

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