‘If King Kong Can Make 155, Bring This Guy Here’

Khabib Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev fear no challengers to the Lightweight throne in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

UFC 294 took a hit to its big main event last night (Tues., Oct. 10, 2023). The promotion’s return to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates was originally slated to see Makhachev rematch the man he defeated to become champion, Charles Oliveira, next weekend (Sat., Oct. 21, 2023). Instead, Oliveira, unfortunately, suffered a bad cut above his eye, forcing his withdrawal.

As a result, Makhachev is now met with an instant rematch against his most recent opponent, the Featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski. No matter the circumstances or opponent, Makhachev’s mentor, the former undefeated 29-0 Lightweight champion, Nurmagomedov, isn’t bothered by the scenario change.

“This is the situation, brother,” Nurmagomedov said in an X video. “Islam is a world champion right now. If somebody can make 155 and UFC says, ‘This guys is a contender.’ Who cares? Doesn’t matter who. If King Kong can make 155, okay, bring this guy here. Doesn’t matter.

“I told [our manager] Ali [Abdelaziz], I told Islam today morning, brother, doesn’t matter,” he continued. “You’re the world champion. ‘Volk,’ Charles, [Dustin] Poirier, or Justin [Gaethje], doesn’t matter, brother. It’s supposed to be Charles, okay. He pull out, we already beat him and we don’t care about this. But if they want ‘Volk’ again, first fight it was very good, very competitive fight but we know and their team knows we win, unanimous decision. It was not even split decision.”

Makhachev first encountered “The Great” Volkanovski at UFC 284 in Sydney, Australia earlier this year (February 12, 2023). In what was coined “the battle of pound-for-pound greats,” Makhachev walked away the victor via a thrilling unanimous judges’ call (watch highlights). Despite that, he didn’t end up atop the list over Volkanovski.

This time, Nurmagomedov expects his protégé to be well-prepared for what they’re up against.

“‘Volk’ was looking good on that fight, but he lose,” Nurmagomedov said. “He knows, his team knows, and all world knows he lose. Okay, they want to bring him again, okay. We’re here. Islam always on weight, on point, he’s ready to go. We have five more hard days for training and we’re ready for Abu Dhabi so let’s go.”


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