Khabib Nurmagomedov is expecting his teammate Islam Makhachev to fight for another three years, make six title defences and then ride into the sunset.
Makhachev captured the vacant lightweight title by submitting Charles Oliveira in the second round at UFC 280, and will now put it on the line against featherweight champ Alex Volkanovaski in his backyard at UFC 284. The number one pound for pound spot will also be on the line. The reigning champ is only 31 years old, but Khabib believes he will not fight for very long.
The plan for Makhachev is to make history by beating the record for the most title defences at lightweight, jointly held by Khabib himself, Frankie Edgar, and Benson Henderson.
Khabib On Islam Makhachev
“I think he needs at least five,” Khabib said. “Maybe six. That would be ideal. Six defenses, that’s six fights and three years. Then it’s possible that the sport leaves him because nobody can stay on top forever. The way the almighty created a man, he first becomes strong then weak. He’s young then he’s old. Knowing that, the goal is five-six defenses.
“My father always said this. We had the best lightweights in Russia for 15 years pro and amateur. In the last few years, we stepped on the world stage. First I won then Islam then Usman. Now they’ll defend their titles. They have some serious competition. We’ll hold on to these belts for five-six years.”
How many title defences will Islam Makhachev make?