Khabib slams UFC for leaving Islam Makhachev’s future in the balance

Hunter Haas
Khabib calls out UFC matchmakers for painting an unclear picture of Islam Makhachev’s future

Khabib Nurmagomedov has strong thoughts about the UFC matchmakers, as he claims the upcoming slate of fights “doesn’t make sense.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov is the most prolific, undefeated fighter in the history of the UFC. He rode off into the sunset after reaching the 29-0 mark in a dominant victory over Justin Gaethje in 2020.

But Khabib’s influence still lingers in the company. He trains with Islam Makhachev, the UFC Lightweight Champion, as the two have shared a brotherly bond since childhood.

Makhachev is awaiting his next opponent, as the lightweight division will see multiple high-profile matches in the coming months. But Khabib disagrees with the UFC’s matchmaking.

Khabib “doesn’t understand” the UFC’s plan for Islam Makhachev 

The former champion laid out his case during a recent interview with MMA Junkie by calling out the matchmakers directly.

Khabib brought up the upcoming slate of fights and explained how the UFC should have handled things when determining the number one contender for Makhachev’s belt.

“All respect for Max Holloway, but I don’t know why the UFC made this fight. Justin Gaethje vs. Max Holloway doesn’t make sense,” Khabib exclaimed.

“It’s my opinion. Holloway was supposed to fight Ilia Topuria next, maybe in September. Justin Gaethje was supposed to fight with Islam in May/June.

“Arman Tsarukyan vs. Charles Oliveira, they fight in April. Whoever wins out of them, and wins out of Islam vs. Gaethje, was supposed to fight end of the year in Abu Dhabi.

“In my opinion, it doesn’t make sense why they don’t give Islam the Justin Gaethje fight and why they make him fight vs. Holloway.

“I don’t understand what the UFC has planned, but Islam is ready to fight with anybody.”

Makhachev has been on the shelf since UFC 294 when he defeated Alexander Volkanovski. The Russian star says he aims to return to the octagon this summer.

His next opponent is still up in the air, and according to Khabib, the UFC is making it more challenging than it needs to be.

With a sparkling 25-1 MMA record, with Makhachev’s lone loss coming in 2015, whoever earns the number one contender status will have their work cut out for them.

About The Author

Hunter Haas is the Senior Sports Writer at Dexerto. Over the last two years he has worked as a writer and editor for FanSided at NFLMocks. He also served as an editor at The Raider Ramble and The Blue Stable. Hunter is an expert in all things MMA, WWE, and NFL. You can email him here: