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Morning Report: Coach: Islam Makhachev proved ‘most well-rounded lightweight of all-time’ with Charles Oliveira win

UFC 280: Oliveira v Makhachev Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

The Islam Makhachev era is in full swing heading into UFC 284.

Pound-for-pound supremacy will be on the line in Perth, Australia on Feb. 11 when Makhachev defends his lightweight crown for the first time opposite featherweight kingpin Alexander Volkanovski. With just a single blemish on his 24-fight record, the near-flawless Makhachev has essentially been an unstoppable force with no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Before Makhachev, the division was ruled by his mentor and teammate-turned-coach Khabib Nurmagomedov, who finished his career with a perfect 29-0 record. Makhachev, however, has been touted as “Khabib 2.0” and even their coach at American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) Javier Mendez feels none has ever better displayed an overall game than Makhachev at 155 pounds.

“I don’t know,” Mendez told Helen Yee when asked if Volkanovski will be Makhachev’s toughest opponent. “I’m not sure he is the toughest. Based at what’s on stake, I would say yes based on that. Is he really? I don’t know. We’ll have to find out fight night. If he can prevent Islam from taking him down.

“Also, keep in mind, a lot of people are now catching on, Islam can stand with Charles [Oliveira]. They were talking about, ‘Well, Islam has to take him down.’ And Charles was thinking, ‘Oh, he has to take me down.’ Well, what got him to the ground? It wasn’t Islam’s takedowns. It was Islam’s punching that took him down. So, the secret’s out and it should have been out a long time ago. Islam can do it all. If he can’t take you down, guess what, you gotta deal with his stand-up, too. I’ve said it many times, that he’s the most well-rounded lightweight of all time in champions. He’s the best rounded of all of ‘em. I expect him on Feb. 11 to become pound-for-pound No. 1.”

Despite Makhachev’s stiff first challenge as a champion in another UFC titlist, many within the community expect the lightweight to go on a historic run. Nurmagomedov has expressed that Makhachev will likely earn at least five or six title defenses for an “ideal” run.

Unlike the lightweight legend Nurmagomedov, there is more of a possibility that Makhachev makes the attempt at dual-division champion status. Mendez doesn’t foresee it happening soon, but after that target number of title defenses, the sky is the limit.

“I 100 percent see that if Islam wants, yes. If that’s what he wants to do, yes,” Mendez said of Makhachev at welterweight. “Unlike Khabib, Khabib didn’t want to do that. Khabib’s goal was never to be welterweight or middleweight. If Khabib wanted that, he would have been that, but Islam, I have heard him, he has mentioned it to me that he wants to go to welterweight at some point, but he wants to clear out the division. He wants to defend the title more than anybody has.

“I think once that goes accomplished, I think he’ll think maybe I’ll go to welterweight. I think we’re a little bit far away from that because this is gonna be the first title defense. I think maybe four or five more title defenses and maybe the topic of him going up to 170 is very entertaining.”


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VIDEO STEW

Between the Links.

UFC 283 Promo.

Free fight.

Jake Paul to PFL.

Full RIZIN 40 main card.


LISTEN UP

Heck of a Morning. MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck reacts to Jake Paul signing with PFL, silence on Dana White from UFC and Endeavor.

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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Champ.

T.M.I, Arno.

The King of Kung Fu.

Generosity.

Dang.

Oh my.

True.

Name in the hat.

Ready.

They’re not great.

Shibatar being Shibatar.

Wrestling day.

Punchin’.

Break it down.

Rise up.

Sparta.

Stabby.

Jiu-jitsu.

Alright, I will!

Interest.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Jamie Mullarkey (15-5) vs. Francisco Prado (11-0); UFC 284, Feb. 11

Josh Parisian (15-5) vs. Jamal Pogues (9-3); UFC Vegas 69, Feb. 18

Mike Malott (8-1-1) vs. Yohan Lainesse (9-1); UFC Vegas 70, Feb. 25

Kamuela Kirk (12-5) vs. Esteban Ribovics (11-0); UFC 285, March 4

Jennifer Maia (20-9-1) vs. Casey O’Neill (9-0); UFC 286, March 18

Cynthia Calvillo (9-5-1) vs. Lupita Godinez (8-3); UFC 287, April 8


FINAL THOUGHTS

I’m not sure I’d go that far with Makhachev yet, but he certainly could be if he decides to show off his striking more and more as a champion.

Happy Friday, gang. MMA is about to get back in full swing so enjoy the break while it’s here. Or don’t. Because fandom. Thanks for reading!


EXIT POLL

Poll

Is Islam Makhachev the most well-rounded lightweight of all time?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Yes
    (90 votes)
  • 82%
    No
    (438 votes)
528 votes total Vote Now

If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @DrakeRiggs_ on Twitter and let him know about it. Also, follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.

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