Khabib Nurmagomedov won’t be in Islam Makhachev’s corner at UFC 284
The Russian fighter confirmed he will face featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski without his friend and coach in Perth next in February.
Competing in the UFC is not for everyone. Only a very few gifted and fearless athletes can make it to the most prestigious mixed martial arts organization and become champions.
Getting ready for a fight depends very much on the preparation during the training camp, but a great amount of it relies on the fighter’s confidence and mental strength, where a good coach plays his part too.
UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev (23-1-0) will be facing the biggest challenge of his career in Australia, where he will be fighting the UFC featherweight titleholder and pound-for-pound king Alexander Volkanovski in February.
At the start of the year, the MMA world was shocked by the news that said Khabib Nurmagomedov was leaving the MMA industry to spend more time with his family, which followed his retirement from competition in October 2020 and two subsequent years of non-stop coaching.
The Dagestani native, who defeated Charles Oliveira at UFC 280 to claim the lightweight title, confirmed that Nurmagomedov, considered one of the best fighters of all time, won’t be in his corner against The Great.
Makhachev’s triple challenge to become a double champ
In Perth, Makhachev will have to deal with three challenges if he wants to make history in the UFC by joining the organization’s exclusive double-champs list: the No-Khabib factor, the all-Australian atmosphere at RAC Arena in Perth, and the ruthless Volkanovski.
The Russian fighter recognized that having Khabib on his side makes the preparation easier, but also added that in the end, the outcome of the fight will fully depend on him.
“When the cage door close, no one is there for you. Of course, it’s going to be different but I’ve already fought without him a couple of times. And he cannot always be with me”, Makhachev said to Fox Sports Australia.
“Of course, it’s very good when he is here. I always like it when he is with me because he knows what you need for the fight, for the weight cut, you don’t have to worry about any of this”, he added.
Meanwhile, Volkanovski (25-1-0), considered an all-time great even if he’s still active due to his impressive resumé, believes that he would have his hand raised at the end of the fight even if Khabib was guiding Makhachev.
“They better not use it as an excuse once this is all done. At the end of the day, Makhachev will prepare and we’re going to fight. He doesn’t need someone to hold his hand. Doesn’t need someone to be in there with him. That’s not a real fighter. So when my hand gets raised, that better not come up.”
With or without Nurmagomedov in Australia, the styles clash between Makhachev and Volkanovski promises to be one of the very best in 2023.