While it may flattering (and somewhat unfair) to compare Islam Makhachev to former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight kingpin, Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is a trainer partner of the rising 155-pound contender, it has been a topic of conversation for some time now.
While Makhachev appreciates that people see similarities in their respective games, he knows he has a way to go before he can truly reach the heights that “The Eagle” reached throughout his storied combat career.
That said, Makhachev’s foes can expect the same tenacity, brute strength and wrestling that Khabib has used to mow down all of his opponents. For Thiago Moises, while he understands that Makhachev has been “dominating” his recent competition, he is no Khabib.
“No one compares to Khabib and what he’s done in the sport,” Moises told MMA Fighting. “To me, Khabib was the best lightweight of all-time, one of the best of all-time pound-for-pound, and I believe [Makhachev] doesn’t compare to Khabib.”
One of the knocks on Makhachev — as was the case with Nurmagomedov early in his career — was that he hasn’t faced the best Lightweight competition available. Makhachev, meanwhile, says that is through no fault of his own since nobody wants to face him at the moment. Nevertheless, Moises says while Makhachev is worthy of the praise he has been getting, he’s not as complete as the the Brazilian bomber.
“He has fought tough fighters, but no one from the top of the division. We’ll have a better idea when he starts to fight the best lightweights,” he added. “The opponents he’s fought [since the Martins loss] were good, but I believe no one is as complete as I am, and that’s my advantage in the fight.”
Makhachev is currently riding a seven-fight win streak, while Moises has won three in a row. Should the Dagestani-born fighter get a win later tonight (Sat., July 17, 2021) in the main event of UFC Vegas 31, which takes place inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, most feel it will be good enough to put him into the championship conversation. While that’s not the same treatment Moises seems to be getting, he could definitely bully his way into the picture if he can pull off the upset.
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