Islam Makhachev on Khabib’s UFC Return: “He Was Very Nervous”

“Khabib missed the thrill of the fights”

Khabib Nurmagomedov stepped back from his coaching duties at the beginning of 2023 to spend more time with his family after several hectic years in the sport. Under his guidance, fighters like Umar Nurmagomedov, Usman Nurmagomedov, and Islam Makhachev have reached the pinnacle of their respective divisions. Now, after a lengthy hiatus, Khabib is returning to the corner as Makhachev defends his UFC title against Dustin Poirier at UFC 302.


Khabib’s Return to the Corner

Khabib’s return has sparked significant interest, as this will be his first time in Makhachev’s corner since UFC 280, where Makhachev claimed the lightweight title from Charles Oliveira with a second-round submission  . Makhachev revealed that Khabib missed the thrill of the fight atmosphere and was too nervous watching from the sidelines.

“I believe the first thing is that he missed the feeling,” said Makhachev about Khabib’s return. “I think he was very nervous when he was sitting in a room and watching the fights. He always takes care of us. He wants to help. That’s why he is here, he will be in my corner.”

The Importance of Khabib’s Guidance

Khabib’s experience and strategic acumen are invaluable to Makhachev, who is entering his prime years as a fighter. Khabib’s advice has been crucial in several key fights, including Makhachev’s knockout of Gleison Tibau and submission victories over Dan Hooker and Charles Oliveira .

“This adds 20 percent to striking, 20 percent to wrestling, to the plan. It’s always fantastic to have Khabib in the corner because he gives me good advice in many fights,” Makhachev shared. “I remember against Gleison Tibau, he told me to try the left hook. I did it and finished him. Against Hooker, he gave me very good advice when I finished him via armbar. In the title fight (against Charles Oliveira), he gave me very good advice.”

UFC 302 Fight Card

The main event at UFC 302 will see Islam Makhachev (25-1-0) defend his lightweight title against Dustin Poirier (30-8-0) . The card also features several exciting matchups:

  • Middleweight Bout: Sean Strickland vs. Paulo Costa
  • Middleweight Bout: Kevin Holland vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk
  • Heavyweight Bout: Jailton Almeida vs. Alexander Romanov
  • Welterweight Bout: Randy Brown vs. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos
  • Middleweight Bout: Cesar Almeida vs. Roman Kopylov
  • Lightweight Bout: Grant Dawson vs. Joe Solecki
  • Welterweight Bout: Philip Rowe vs. Jake Matthews
  • Welterweight Bout: Niko Price vs. Alex Morono
  • Welterweight Bout: Mickey Gall vs. Bassil Hafez
  • Bantamweight Bout: Ailin Perez vs. Joselyne Edwards
  • Flyweight Bout: Mitch Raposo vs. Andre Lima

Khabib’s return to the corner is a significant development, adding an extra layer of intrigue and excitement to the event. His presence is expected to bolster Makhachev’s performance as he faces the formidable challenge of Dustin Poirier.

Sources: LowKickMMA, EssentiallySports, Sherdog

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