Leon Edwards was the first guy Islam Makhachev ever sparred at AKA

While Charles Oliveira is busy plotting his return to 145lbs if he were to be victorious Makhachev is looking to have Volkanovski challenge him at 155lbs.

Khabib Nurmagomedov is not shying away when it comes to promoting long time friend Islam Makhachev. Makhachev was handed a title shot in part due to a lucrative partnership UFC has with UAE.

That same partnership is the biggest reason Nurmagomedov had one of the biggest UFC contracts at the time.

Even though the public criticizes Makhachev those who have trained with him usually have affirmative comments. One of the men that used to train out of American Kickboxing Academy is the newly crowned Welterweight champion Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards.

 “Too early to say. He hasn’t even got the 155 Belt yet. But if he gets it and defends it a few times, Islam in his best shape walks around at 178.5 lbs. Who knows. He used to spar with Leon Edwards a lot in 2015-2016 by the way. Everything that happens in the gym, stays in the gym but Islam did really good back then,”

Khabib said speaking to the reporters.

Then again recently Makhachev revealed Leon Edwards was his first spar ever at American Kickboxing academy.

“First day when I went to American Kickboxing Academy, I watching the Khabib spar with Jake Shields. I think that moment and that that moment I first time I see the cage, you know, because I never see someone in Dagestan that when we don’t have cage, we just have that mat. And and I asked Khabib please, can you say it?”

“Or however I want to like feel that I want to go inside the cage, like do some rounds there and I will say, yes, but we have one guy in a little bit big and he’s a very good striker. And Khabib like translate me. And he thought and I think this is my first sparring in the U.S. in a cage.”

“And they give me sound like good, good, good, good sparring partner. I just say let’s go with the coach say that moment he have very good left like be careful and when we beginning this round I just go to the double leg, pick that moment we started on Edwards. I take him down, but we have very good round with him.”

“And you know why he’s a champion right now? Because he’s a good striker. And that moment he come to improve his wrestling skills. And that’s why I who who want to always improve, who won, who know if you think I’m good everywhere I can do everything you’re not going to.”