Islam Makhachev lauds 'GOAT' Khabib Nurmagomedov after destroying Dan Hooker

Islam Makhachev believes Khabib Nurmagomedov is the GOAT

Islam Makhachev has waded into the GOAT debate - and unsurprisingly sided with his close friend and mentor Khabib Nurmagomedov over Jon Jones and Anderson Silva. 

UFC legend Michael Bisping recently insisted that 'The Eagle' cannot call himself the greatest of them all after retiring in the prime of his career.

Nurmagomedov, 33, defended the lightweight title in October 2020 against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254.

However, Khabib's clash with Gaethje would prove to be his last, as he announced his shock retirement in Abu Dhabi shortly after that. 

He walked away from the sport of mixed martial arts with an unblemished record of 29 victories and no defeats.  

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However, Bisping feels he has removed himself from the conversation entirely, as some of his contemporaries faced 'world-class competition' for a longer period of time. 

“Yeah, he took himself out of it. And if you look, yeah, he didn’t fight the best until the end of his career," 'The Count' told Youtuber and combat sports enthusiast, True Geordie.

“When you compare that with GSP [Georges St-Pierre] or [Jon] Jones or Anderson [Silva], their run against world-class competition was far longer.

“But for Khabib, I know it was because of his father passing away, and he made a promise to his mother. So, it’s different circumstances.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov submitted Conor McGregor in the fourth round of UFC 229

But in Makhachev's mind, there can only be one winner.

The Dagestani wrestler, who has rattled off nine consecutive wins, had previously said: "“If somebody says I’m almost the same as Khabib, I agree with this.

“I want to be like Khabib. He’s a great man, he’s a champion, he has a lot of money and he has everything, but he’s still a humble guy."

And now Makhachev has doubled down on his original claim by sharing a picture of the long-time training partners standing next to each other celebrating his most recent victory over Dan Hooker.  

Makhachev posted the photo accompanied by the simple caption: 'G.O.A.T.' The post has gained more than 1,000 comments and 172,000 likes at the time of writing.  

Islam Makhachev pictured with Khabib Nurmagomedov

Makhachev, 29, clearly has a great deal of respect for Nurmagomedov. The two spent many years training together under his father, Abdulmanap, and have been friends since childhood.  

Speaking ahead of his three-round lightweight bout against Hooker, Makhachev told BT Sport: “I want to be next Khabib. I want to be like Khabib.

"Honestly, I want to smash all my opponents like Khabib, too.

“I have little bit same [statistics], but I agree. If somebody say, ‘You fight like Khabib’ or ‘You gonna be like Khabib,’ I want to be.”

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