In this past weekend’s main event, Makhachev extended his win streak to 11 with a memorable and dominant display inside Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Arena.
With his second-round submission win against former champion Charles Oliveira, the Dagestani completed a plan that had long been laid out for him by Khabib and Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov.
Since retiring and ending his own reign on the lightweight throne following a successful defense against Justin Gaethje in 2020, Khabib has continued to maintain a presence in the gym, acting as a coach — or “mentor,” if you ask the man himself — for the next generation of Dagestani stars.
Ahead of his title challenger, Makhachev described Khabib’s transition to coaching, admitting in an interview with UFC Russia that the sessions that “The Eagle” leads are extremely tough.
And despite reaching the lightweight mountaintop, it appears that trend will continue for the champ soon enough.
Khabib Shares ‘No Rest For The Wicked’ Sentiment After Makhachev Title Win
During an interview with BT Sport’s Adam Catterall following his victory on Saturday, Makhachev was asked whether he’ll be granted a decent period of rest having seen his hard work pay off on Yas Island.
“We kinda know where we’re going (next), Perth, Australia. But you deserve a rest first, yeah?” Catterall said. “Do you think Khabib will let you rest? You said he keeps working you too hard, man.”
Not too optimistic about a lengthy period away from intense training Makhachev joked that his friend and mentor will likely be dragging him back to the gym days after his championship crowning.
“I think he ask me, ‘You have some injury?’ I said, ‘I don’t feel nothing right now.’ I think he’s going to push me from the start, tomorrow,” Makhachev said with a glancing grin to his mentor behind the camera. “This guy, he retired but he’s still training every day. He brings always some guys with him to wrestle or do some grappling.
“I think tomorrow morning, he’s gonna call me, ‘Let’s go to the gym and do some small things.’ But it’s never small things, we start to do something and it’s gonna be big training. We do some grappling match, wrestling match, sparring,” Makhachev added.
Khabib himself was behind the camera to answer, insisting that if Makhachev wants to attain the status of pound-for-pound number one, there’s little time for holidays and rest. With the help of Catterall, though, Makhachev will at least be getting a few weeks to enjoy his hobbies.
“No, no, no. He deserves two weeks… maximum two weeks,” Khabib said. “Middle of December, he have to be in gym, for sure, if you wanna become pound-for-pound. If you wanna just be champion, okay, come back January.”
You can watch Catterall assist Makhachev to his temporary freedom below.
When the new titleholder does return to training, it’ll seemingly be ahead of a trip to Australia next February, where he’s now expected to defend his title for the first time against the divisional king from below.
Alexander Volkanovski has long outlined his ambitions at lightweight, and having weighed in as the UFC 280 backup fighter last week and stood toe-to-toe with the champ inside the Octagon, he looks set to be first in line to challenge Makhachev.
How much rest did Islam Makhachev earn with his submission victory over Charles Oliveira?
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