Khabib Nurmagomedov was in Islam Makhachev’s corner as his fighter dominated Bobby Green
Khabib Nurmagomedov (second from left) watches Islam Makhachev (left) beat Bobby Green © Chris Unger / Zuffa LLC
MMA legend Khabib Nurmagomedov secured his latest win as a trainer by guiding potential lightweight title successor Islam Makhachev to a first-round TKO of Bobby Green – then revealed he has held talks with UFC president Dana White about the Russian fighting Justin Gaethje or Charles Oliveira for the title this year.
Makhachev extended his winning streak to ten fights against an opponent who had called him «boring» in the build-up, although there were no hard feelings as Nurmagomedov entered the octagon afterwards to join his formidable contender in embracing Green.
Gaethje, who Nurmagomedov beat in his final fight in October 2020, faces lightweight champion Oliveira at UFC 274 on May 7, and his former nemesis has told UFC president Dana White that Makhachev should receive the title shot he has long called for against the winner.
«A couple of days ago when we met with Dana, we were talking about what is next,» Nurmagomedov told ESPN, describing how he had told White that Makhachev and Green were «not the same level».
The most important is to seek help from Allah. Alhamdulillah!!Islam Makhachev time☝? #UFCVegas49@MAKHACHEVMMA@TeamKhabibpic.twitter.com/odY2qJWRM3
— Stiopic ?? (@stiopic_) February 27, 2022
Hasbulla’s English coming along nicely. He’s excited about his student Islam Makhachev fighting tonight. pic.twitter.com/BtAa69ZeFd
— FightOracle ™ (@fightoracle) February 26, 2022
«He said ‘I’m really focused on Islam fighting Oliveira and Justin Gaethje, end of this year.’ Dana said they’re going to make a very big show in Abu Dhabi at the end of this year.
«I really want Charles and Islam to fight. But Justin Gaethje has so much experience and he has a big heart.
«If you want to beat him, you have to finish him. Justin Gaethje is going to win his fight if Charles doesn’t finish him.
Islam Makhachev 10 straight wins ?(via @ufc)pic.twitter.com/89UbpLWLuO
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 27, 2022
Islam Makhachev TKOs Bobby Green in the 1st round! He's a PROBLEM! pic.twitter.com/oLYKxtapTK
— They got me again… (@FTB_VIDS) February 27, 2022
«I don’t want to disrespect Bobby Green – he is a great guy, very funny and fun to watch. I’ve watched a lot of his fights but there are levels, always, like I say to my guys.
«There are fighters, champions, elite. Bobby Green is a fighter but Islam is elite, this is what I feel when I’ve trained with him for a long time.
«Twenty years, we’ve spent together. Who has a better win streak in the UFC today? Him and Charles Oliveira have a ten-win streak, and Kamaru Usman, the pound-for-pound king [15-fight streak]. He has to fight for the title next.»
Every Islam Makhachev fight:“Fighter B is gonna knock him out”*Islam dominates*“He needs to fight fighter C to get a title shot”*Islam dominates*“Islam is boring”The fan narrative is what Khabib went through, all over again. #UFCVegas49pic.twitter.com/FoUgS5LPsq
— Kevin Thang (@Skip2MyJays) February 27, 2022
Oliveira will beat Gaethje, according to Makhachev. «It’s going to be a big fight because both guys are high-level,» he predicted.
«Charles has improved his striking game very well and he has more than Justin in the ground game. They’re going to strike a bit and Charles is going to take his back, take him down and beat him, third or second round. That’s my opinion.
«It’s going to be a good match because this guy is good at striking, wrestling and grappling but I’m going to make him tired, pressure him and make him give up, because I know this guy doesn’t like it when someone goes with him for three or four rounds with hard punches and a hard time.
Find someone who supports you like @Khabib_Nurmagomedov supports @Islam_Makhachev ? #UFCVegas49#UFC#UFC271pic.twitter.com/qp3VSGd309
— harsh wagh (@harsh_wagh1818) February 27, 2022
"I have to finish what my father began."For Khabib, helping Islam Makhachev reach UFC glory represents fulfilling his father's prediction ❤️#UFCVegas49 | Sat 10pm | BT Sport 1 HD pic.twitter.com/Mui1gTQnLp
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) February 25, 2022
«When he cannot finish someone, he gives up all the time. I have better grappling skills than him with high-level grapplers. I like grappling. This guy is going to try to finish me on the ground.»
Green had fought two weeks earlier and agreed to face Makhachev at ten days’ notice after the 30-year-old’s original opponent, Beneil Dariush, broke a leg in training.
«I wish [referee] Herb [Dean] would have given me more time,» he said on Instagram afterwards, apologizing to his supporters. «I asked him to let me fight.»
Longest active UFC win streaks:1️⃣5️⃣ — Kamaru Usman1️⃣0️⃣ — Charles Oliveira1️⃣0️⃣ — Alex Volkanovski1️⃣0️⃣ — Islam Makhachev 3 are current champions and Islam Makhachev is a future champion. ?#UFCVegas49#UFC#MMApic.twitter.com/AkpRbabhrd
— The MMA Media (@The_MMA_Media) February 27, 2022
Islam Makhachev considers Conor McGregor an "easy" fight ? #UFCVegas49pic.twitter.com/aph75xnDU3
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) February 27, 2022
Nurmagomedov said Green had joked with him about his frame in the ring afterwards, asking whether the retiree would still make lightweight.
«Of course I am big because for almost two years I have been finished with fights,» conceded Nurmagomedov after continuing his impressive record as a mentor to fighters. «But every day I train, I try to spend time in the gym.
«I was a little bit nervous because this is a fight, anything can happen. We were talking with [coach] Jav [Mendez] before the fight and I said ‘I am still nervous but I feel better.’
«He said ‘in a couple of years, you’re going to become better than now.’ This is all about experience.»