Morning Report: Islam Makhachev’s coach says he will ‘clear out’ lightweight division before chasing welterweight title

Islam Makhachev intends to one day follow in the footsteps of Alexander Volkanovskiy.

This Saturday, the UFC lightweight champion will defend his title against the featherweight champion in the main event of UFC 284, and according to Makhachev’s trainer Javier Mendez, Makhachev also intends to eventually move up in weight.

“I understand it one hundred percent,” Mendes said. Submission Radio. “And the reason I see it is because Islam wants it. And when he wants it, he will make it happen. So, he will train, he will clear the division as he wants, and then he will go for the welterweight title, and whoever that person is at this particular time, I feel like he will win.”

A longtime friend and training partner of UFC Hall of Famer Khabib Nurmagomedov, Makhachev was Nurmagomedov’s personally chosen successor to rule the lightweight division when he retired. Makhachev finally lived up to that prediction in October by giving Charles Oliveira the right to claim the lightweight belt, and Mendez says the champion informed him shortly after that of the opportunity to move up one day.

“It was shortly after that, I don’t remember exactly, but after he won the title, he was like, yes, what do you think?” Mendes said. “I said yes, and it’s just like with Khabib, I never heard Khabib talk about anything other than lightweight. That’s all. Khabib never named a welterweight. But in my eyes, what I saw with my own eyes in the gym all those years that I had Khabib, Khabib could be a lightweight, welterweight and middleweight champion in my eyes.”

But first, Makhachev needs to clear the division, and that’s a long way off, and his first title defense will come with additional challenges. Aside from meeting Volkanovski in the featherweight champion’s backyard, Makhachev will also not have Nurmagomedov in his corner this weekend as the Hall of Famer stepped away from MMA to spend more time with his family. Makhachev’s team insists it won’t make a big difference in the fight, and Mendez says Nurmagomedov is still giving advice and discussing strategy with him and the champ even on fight week.

“You know, he called,” Mendez said. “Yes, he called on FaceTime. Facetime. He will call me, he will write, Islam will call. In fact, these guys are not very fond of texting. This is FaceTime. They like to spend time alone. So, I communicate with him on Facetime. I send them a video of what’s going on and he gives me his opinion and he talks to Islam and we discuss, “Hey, can you talk to Islam? Can you do that? Of course, of course the coach. He’s already ahead of me. He is such a good coach that he is already doing all 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 steps to mentally prepare Islam.

“But the great thing about Islam is that it is very low maintenance. Virtually zero maintenance. He knows everything. As DC said, Khabib looks like his controllers. Like, Islam just goes in, you know, it’s amazing, amazing how he can just go into it. He knows what to do. You don’t need to tell him more than once.”

UFC 284 takes place this Saturday at the RAC Arena in Perth, Australia.


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Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow!



Who is winning?

  • 58%

    Islam Makhachev

    (52 votes)

  • 41%

    Alexander Volkanovskiy

    (37 votes)

total 89 votes

Vote now

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