Makhachev believes he would’ve become champion 2 years ago if Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov was alive

in the UFC 280’s main event, Islam Makhachev defeated Charles Oliveira by submission in the second round to claim the vacant lightweight title. Makhachev dedicated his win to Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, who had coached Makhachev along with his son Khabib for close to 20 years..

The UFC lightweight champion claimed that if Nurmagomedov Sr. hadn’t passed away suddenly two years before, he would have won the title two years ago.

During an interview with Megan Olivi, the 31-year-old said:

“Always he [Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov] told, ‘After Khabib went retired, Islam have to take this belt. But many things happen after he [passed away]. And just couple of years [later] now I take that belt from Charles. But if he [was] with us right now, I can take this belt before couple of years.”

Nurmagomedov Sr. died in 2020 as a result of COVID-19. Soon after, Khabib faced Justin Gaethje and made a surprise retirement announcement relinquishing his belt just after he was declared Pound for pound champion of the UFC.

Over the course of the last two years, Khabib Nurmagomedov has relentlessly promoted his protégé Islam Makhachev. The Eagle had projected that Makhachev would easily defeat Charles Oliveira going into UFC 280.

Nurmagomedov even reportedly sunk $1,000,000 of his own money to make sure Makhachev succeeds.

Now that all skepticism has been dispelled, Nurmagomedov asserts that Makhachev is the finest pound-for-pound in the world right now. To demonstrate it, they are prepared to take on Alexander Volkanovski, the current UFC pound-for-pound champion who served as a backup for the main event of UFC 280.

In the octagon interview after the bout, Khabib stated:

“All life, all life we train together. 22 years we train together, and last couple of years, I told you guys, Islam Makhachev is the best fighter. Not in lightweight, he’s the pound-for-pound No. 1 fighter right now, today. And you know what is interesting? Charles Oliveira is No. 2 pound-for-pound, right? He finished Charles, now it’s our plan: fly all the way to Australia and fight in pound-for-pound king backyard. Volkanovski, let’s do it. We know we’re gonna finish this guy.”