Islam Makhachev is the new lightweight champion and despite the fact Dana White seems to be having trouble remembering his name, he made quite an impression on the fanbase.
But before Makhachev was a champion he was a valuable part of the Nurmagomedov entourage.
Conor McGregor’s matchup with Khabib Nurmagomedov is arguably the most heated bout in MMA history.
There was a lot of violence that took place before the scrap, with Khabib’s team harassing Conor’s friend Artem Lobov. This was followed by Conor and his entourage taking revenge by attacking a bus full of UFC stars including Khabib on it.
Conor was arrested and faced criminal charges for his actions, but he avoided landing in jail.
The bout between Conor and Khabib was then confirmed for the lightweight title. The two hotshots had an intense press conference ahead of the event. Conor, who’s a master when it comes to mind games, took shots at everything that Khabib held dear, from his family to his religion.
This, along with Conor’s antics prior to the press conference infuriated Khabib.
He ultimately took his revenge by choking out Conor in the fourth round. However, Khabib’s win over the “Notorious” one wasn’t enough for the beef to end.
Khabib jumped the cage right onto Conor’s teammate Dillon Danis to attack him. Chaos ensued as his team got into it as well and attacked Conor and Danis. The latter got attacked for allegedly shouting insults at Khabib during the match.
The footage shows that one of the people who attacked Danis from behind was the current lightweight champion, Islam Makhachev.
While he’s now the kingpin of the 155-pound division and is ranked second in the P4P rankings, Islam was just another up-and-comer back then.
The UFC investigated the incident and found that he was also involved in the brawl along with Zubaira Tukhugov. Dana White infamously said that the two will never compete again in the UFC.
This prompted a response from Khabib, who slammed the UFC publicly on social media. He said that if the UFC releases his friends, he too will vacate the title and leave. He also told the NAC to keep the money that they were withholding from him.
Because of this pressure from Khabib, Dana later announced that he wasn’t getting rid of the two. They’re still competing in the UFC, Islam being one of the company’s top stars.
Syed Ali Fazeel is an accomplished MMA fan, and writer. He discovered MMA in his youth and has been following the sport since TUF season 1.