Coach admits Khabib Nurmagomedov was ‘concerned’ for Islam Makhachev in fight with Alexander Volkanovski

By Harry Kettle - April 20, 2023

Javier Mendez has admitted that Khabib Nurmagomedov was concerned for Islam Makhachev heading into his fight against Alexander Volkanovski.

Islam Makhachev

While he may have walked away from mixed martial arts, Khabib Nurmagomedov is still a fan. In addition to that, he’s also heavily invested in the success of his friends and family who compete in the sport.

One such example, of course, is Islam Makhachev. The UFC lightweight champion has always been close with Khabib and, in many ways, has been his successor at 155 pounds.

Back in February, however, he came close to losing his belt in an absolute war against Alexander Volkanovski. Islam managed to come out on top in the eyes of the judges, but ‘The Great’ pushed him to his limit.

As it turns out, Khabib was already aware of how dangerous Volkanovski was going to be.

“Khabib would call me up and would say, ‘Coach I’m really worried about this fight, Volkanovski is really tough, I’m concerned for Islam a little bit on this one,’” Mendez said. “I was like, ‘I’m not, we’re gonna win this fight. I don’t know how easy or how hard, but we’re gonna win this fight. So, I know you’re worried Khabib, but I’m not worried.’

Khabib’s concerns

“And he goes, ‘I know, I know, coach, but we know this is a tough fight, we have to prepare for a tough fight,’” he continued. “I go, ‘Yeah, that’s true, but I still feel like we’re gonna win.’ Fast forward to the fight, it was everything Khabib Nurmagomedov said that would happen in the fight, and it was a super tough fight.”

Quotes via MMA Mania

Do you believe we will ever see a rematch between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski? Will Khabib Nurmagomedov return to MMA in any capacity? Let us know in the comments, BJPENN Nation!


Alex Volkanovski Islam Makhachev Khabib Nurmagomedov UFC