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Khabib: Islam Makhachev will run UFC’s Lightweight division by the end of 2021

UFC 220: Miocic v Ngannou Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, has no plans to compete anytime soon after announcing his retirement from the sport after UFC 254 in Oct. 2020. Even though UFC President, Dana White, has been trying his hardest to get “The Eagle” to fight at least one more time.

Should Khabib stay retired, he is very confident his teammate, Islam Makhachev, will be the one to follow in his dominant footsteps, saying that by the end of 2021 Makhachev will be at the top of the 155-pound weight class.

“Now, everybody talks about Dustin, Conor, Chandler, Justin, Oliveira,” Nurmagomedov told ESPN. “But by the end of the year, it’s gonna be changed. I don’t think anyone can beat [Makhachev] right now. He will run [the division].”

Makhachev is currently on a six-fight win streak and is 18-1 overall with his lone defeat coming at the hands of Adriano Martins, a first round knockout loss at UFC 192 five years ago. Since then, Islam has been on a terrorizing run through the Lightweight division, though he hasn’t exactly picked up a staple win against a high-ranked opponent who sticks out.

Of course, that can all change once Makhachev — currently ranked No. 14 — starts getting the bigger name opponents. Up next for the Russian-born wrestling powerhouse is a match up against Drew Dober at UFC 259 this weekend (Sat., March 6, 2021) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Do you think Makhachev has what it takes to prove Nurmagomedov right?

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 259 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 259: “Blachowicz vs. Adesanya” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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