In a recent visit to a children’s hospital, UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev shared his perspective on whether he would allow his own children to pursue a career in MMA. Makhachev’s candid response reflects the challenges and realities of the sport, particularly in regions like Dagestan.
While conversing with the kids at the hospital, Makhachev addressed the question of whether he’d permit his own children to enter the world of mixed martial arts. Despite MMA’s popularity in Russia and Dagestan, Makhachev expressed reservations and provided sound reasoning.
Makhachev emphasized that while MMA is widespread in Dagestan, making a sustainable livelihood in the sport is exceedingly difficult due to fierce competition and limited promotional opportunities. Instead, he encouraged young athletes to consider Olympic sports such as wrestling or judo, where they can achieve success, claim regional and national championships, and earn a living. Here are Makhachev’s words:
“I honestly wouldn’t want my son to do MMA. You have to go through a very difficult test to reach such a level that you can provide for your family. There are a lot of Olympic sports where a child can win the Dagestan Championship, Russian championship, and you can already earn something. Wrestling, judo are at a good level in our Republic.”
Acknowledging the children’s interest in MMA, Makhachev maintained his recommendation for Olympic sports. Notably, Makhachev’s ascent to the pinnacle of MMA saw him join the UFC in 2015 and clinch the lightweight champion title in 2022 by defeating Charles Oliveira via an arm triangle submission.
The Dagestani people hold immense respect for Islam Makhachev, as he continues the legacy of Dagestani stars in the UFC, following in the footsteps of the legendary Khabib Nurmagomedov. Makhachev recently defended his UFC title against Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 294.
Makhachev’s victory over Volkanovski in their rematch conclusively resolved the controversies stemming from their initial encounter. In the first fight, Makhachev secured a unanimous decision victory, though it was met with debate regarding the outcome. The rematch, however, witnessed Makhachev delivering a stunning first-round knockout to assert his dominance in the lightweight division.