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Khabib Nurmagomedov Admits Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski Was “Emotionally Difficult” For Him.

8 months ago By Sports Desk

Khabib Nurmagomedov recently claimed that the Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski lightweight title bout was emotionally vexing for him. 

‘The Eagle’ is undoubtedly among the greatest fighters in MMA history and is widely considered the greatest lightweight ever to step inside the octagon. Nurmagomedov retired from professional competition with an undefeated 29-0. During his UFC tenure, the Sambo maestro defeated world-class opponents like Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, and Rafael Dos Anjos. 

Despite his experience and resume, Khabib Nurmagomedov had a tough time watching his close friend and training partner, Islam Makhachev, go up against Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284. 

For context, Makhachev faced the toughest test of his career against the reigning featherweight king in February. While the reigning lightweight champion successfully defended his title via unanimous decision, many believed the decision should’ve gone Volkanovski’s way due to the close nature of their contest. 

In a recent interview with Gorilla Energy, Khabib Nurmagomedov explained the difficult circumstances surrounding the fight. He outlined how Makhachev had less than 11 hours to rehydrate before the fight and how that made acclimatization a huge challenge. 

Further explaining his anxiety watching his friend fight Volkanovski, he said:

“For Islam, it is important when you have 11 hours more… It was such a hard moment, and I understood it all… And I knew that they would enter the cage in 28 hours. They entered… After 39 hours… And another time zone… Because of this, I was worried, and for the first time in my life, I wasn’t around. That’s why I worried.” 

Meanwhile, Islam Makhachev is set to face Charles Oliveira in their highly anticipated rematch at UFC 294. The pay-per-view event will take place in Abu Dhabi on October 21. The Dagestan native defeated ‘Do Bronx’ via second-round submission in their previous meeting at UFC 280. 

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