Islam Makhachev not worried about fighting without Khabib at UFC 284

By Andrew Whitelaw - February 1, 2023

When the cage door slams shut on Islam Makhachev for his UFC 284 clash with Alexander Volkanovski in Perth this month, the Dagestani will be without Khabib Nurmagomedov in his corner.

Islam Makhachev

‘The Eagle’ has mentored the UFC lightweight champion for the majority of his career and has helped oversee the 31-year-old’s incredible 11-fight winning streak that culminated in Makhachev sealing the 155 lb title at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi.

The Russian ended Charles Oliveira’s own winning streak of 11 fights when he submitted the Brazilian in the second round as Nurmagomedov watched on.

The former champ retired with a perfect 29-0 record just over two years ago. Having stayed heavily involved in the sport including having a strong influence on Makhachev’s success, Nurmagomedov has decided to take a step back from coaching entirely and won’t be joining his protege Down Under.

“I understand him, because he was retired, but he still traveled a lot with the whole team,” Makhachev explained in an interview with Fox Sports Australia. “And when somebody has a fight, he goes to the training camp, went to the other things. And when you retire, you want to spend time with your family. For example, 2022 he spent just two months at home with his family, but all the other time he traveled a lot. That’s why he wants to spend more time with his family.” (h/t

Nurmagomedov’s achievements as a fighter are widely hailed – with many citing him as one of the best ever. He’s also been lauded for his coaching ability. Despite Khabib not being there in person for his protege’s title defence, Makhachev insists his influence will still be felt.

“I fought a couple of times without him in my corner,” Makhachev explained. “He gave me good support for this fight. We talked about this fight. He gave me the plan. I have to fight, that’s why we will see.”

Khabib may be seen as arguably the best lightweight of all-time, but Makhachev could surpass him if he continues his current trajectory. The 31-year-old showed his dominance against ‘Do Bronx,’ a man who had submitted many of the biggest names in the division. That win took Makhachev to #2 in the pound-for-pound rankings. If he beats Volkanovski, he will take the top spot.

Where would a win over ‘The Great’ put Makhachev in the lightweight GOAT conversation, and do you think he’ll be okay without Khabib in his corner?


Islam Makhachev Khabib Nurmagomedov UFC UFC 284