Ariel Helwani shades Makhachev after UFC 284: I’m sorry, he isn’t as good as Khabib

MMA journalist Ariel Helwani believes that Islam Makhachev is not as skilled as his mentor Khabib Nurmagomedov and UFC 284 provided conclusive evidence.

After seeing what happened in the UFC 284 main event, Helwani expressed his doubts about Makhachev reaching Khabib’s level on The MMA Hour.


“I’m sorry, he isn’t as good as Khabib. He is not! At this stage, 26 fights in, Khabib was more refined, dominant, better… That being said, he’s (Makhachev’s) one of the top-three best fighters on the planet.”

“I know we’re not allowed to criticize Islam Makhachev, I know that’s taboo… I’m saying he won the fight! I’m saying he won fair and square… I’m being as unbiased as possible.”

“I believe we are putting the praise and all the stuff we had on Khabib on his (Makhachev’s) shoulders. We are taking the baton that Khabib had and giving it to him because we want to continue that lineage.”

“It ain’t the same. He’s not the same guy right now… How do I know he’s not the same guy? Khabib never got knocked out by the Adriano Martins’ of the world… Khabib was never put in a position like this, on Saturday, in the fifth round getting beat up.”

Volkanovski went so far as to tweet he’d won three rounds, after reviewing the video footage. Makhachev contests this and seems adamant that he won at least 3 rounds and was losing really only in the last minute of the contest.

Both parties seem open to the idea of the rematch. Makhachev told media upon landing in Dagestan that he’s open to any opponent UFC puts in front of him including Volkanovski.

He also went so far as to share that he caught up with Nurmagomedov in person during a layover in Dubai and the two discussed everything that went wrong during the contest, jokingly concluding that Khabib is the son of his father.