The UFC’s lightweight division has been the promotion’s most competitive weight class in recent years, with champion Conor McGregor holding down the top spot and plenty of contenders vying to knock him off his pedestal. But with McGregor currently taking some time off from fighting, one man has risen to the top of the ranks as the No. 1 contender in the division – Islam Makhachev. The 25-year-old Dagestani fighter recently suffered his first loss in seven fights, but he also broke into the rankings at No.
The 10 Things You Should Know About Islam
- Islam Makhachev is a lightweight mixed martial artist fighting out of Dagestan, Russia.
- His first professional fight was in 2009 when he beat Sergey Lobov by way of unanimous decision.
- His nickname is The Eagle.
- He won his eighth straight fight at UFC Fight Night 115 on September 2nd when he knocked out veteran Gleison Tibau in round two with a head kick and ground-and-pound to win by knockout for his second knockout victory of 2017. 2a. This was his seventh victory in the octagon, but just his second finish. 5. In 2015, he became the inaugural King of Mats Champion with an impressive 12-0 record before signing with the UFC that same year.
- In addition to wrestling and judo, he trains Muay Thai kickboxing under renowned trainer Kamil Kalimullin.
- He has a younger brother named Ruslan who also competes as a professional MMA fighter under Bellator MMA (formerly known as Bellator Fighting Championships).
- His career record is 18 wins (including 8 knockouts), one loss, four submissions, three decisions , and 11 TKO/KO stoppages. 9. He is scheduled to face undefeated Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Davi Ramos on October 21st, 2018 at UFC 229 for the vacant UFC Lightweight Championship, though it remains unclear if this will be for an interim or undisputed title. 10. His personal heroes are Jose Aldo Jr., Georges St-Pierre, Anderson Silva, Royce Gracie, Burt Watson (UFC Octagon Girl) and Mark Hunt.
His Record in MMA
Makhachev has a professional MMA record of 19-1. His only loss came to Rashid Magomedov in 2014, which was overturned to a no contest after Magomedov tested positive for banned substances.
Makhachev also represented Russia at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England, where he lost in the quarterfinals to Belarusian fighter Ali Shabanau. In addition to MMA and wrestling, Makhachev is also an accomplished amateur boxer with an unbeaten record of 2-0.
His Accomplishments Outside of MMA
He has been a world champion in Combat Sambo, and he is also one of Russia’s most decorated grapplers.
Makhachev was born in Grozny, Chechnya, where he grew up amid war and turmoil. Fighting proved to be an escape for him.
In 2006, Makhachev made his mixed martial arts debut at age 19 and quickly became a force to be reckoned with in Russia.
In 2008, he won gold at the European Amateur Championships and bronze at the World Amateur Championships.
Makhachev, who is Muslim, told MMAjunkie Radio he sees religion as a personal choice. I’m not going to say that I’m religious, he said. The way I see it is that if you’re religious, then you’re religious. If you’re not, then you’re not. Makhachev is also an avid gamer and has been playing video games since his early teens. In fact, he even used to have his own YouTube channel where he would stream himself playing various titles from Call of Duty and Halo to League of Legends and DOTA 2. These days he spends most of his time practicing martial arts in preparation for his next UFC fight–though occasionally pauses for a quick game or two.
His Future in the UFC
In just his second year in the UFC, Islam Makhachev has already made a name for himself as one of the top contenders at 155 pounds. His recent victory over Adriano Martins was his fifth straight win inside the Octagon and showed off his versatility on offense. The Chechen-born fighter is an absolute wrecking machine with devastating grappling skills that help him to control opponents from start to finish. His submission victory over Martins was his third consecutive win via tap-out and he has not lost in MMA competition since 2012 when he battled future champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. With a 12-2 record overall, it is only a matter of time before we see Makhachev take on other top fighters in search of gold.