Daniel Cormier says Khabib Nurmagomedov is early contender for Coach of the Year 2021
Islam Makhachev laid down a big marker to the rest of the lightweight division at UFC 259 with a comprehensive victory over Drew Dober with Khabib Nurmagomedov looking on.
Makhachev didn’t give Dober a single chance in the fight and he exhausted his foe with the Dagestani’s renowned wrestling skills.
The Russian is coached by Khabib, as is Umar Numagomedov. With both men winning their first fights of this year, Makhachev is on a seven-fight winning streak and Umar is 13-0 at bantamweight.
Following the victory last Saturday, former heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier called Makhachev one of the most dangerous men in the division.
UFC boss Dana White called Umar a ‘stud’ after his impressive win on Fight Island back in January. For the stable of fighters under Khabib’s watch, 2021 has begun in dominant fashion.
Cormier and journalist Ariel Helwani both agree that Khabib is the early front-runner for Coach of the Year and Cormier suspects he is honouring the legacy of his late father Abdulmanap who passed away last year.
“Father’s plan was something greater,” he said. “Maybe in the end, father’s plan was taking the baton, and now, taking over the team… What a way to honour your dad’s memory, right? To do what he’s doing right now.”
Of course, Khabib is 29-0 in his UFC career and retired as the UFC lightweight champion in late 2020. He trains with Makhachev and Umar at the American Kickboxing Academy.
Makhachev says Tony Ferguson – a man who was meant to meet Khabib no less than five times – is who he wants next.
“My dream fight is Tony because we have some deal with him like couple of years.
“Now he still pressures Khabib. I don’t understand this guy. I want to just help him retire. He’s old. His mind is a little bit crazy. That’s why I just want to help him.”
From years of training with Khabib, Makhachev is well aware of how to prepare for the 37-year-old.
“When Khabib take this fight versus Tony, Tony is southpaw and I am southpaw, too. So all this, what, five time, I help Khabib for this fight. So I know exactly how Tony work, I know a lot about him.
“Khabib and me have almost same technique,” he continued. “We have good wrestling, good grappling skills. So I just want to show people how Khabib take him down, control him, make him tired, make him tap. Everybody talk like Tony hard fight for Khabib but I never thought like that because Khabib’s wrestling and grappling are different. Nobody have it like that.
“Tony is number five or six, that’s why it’s going to be good for me,” he finished. “And Tony is very good fighter because he finish lot of good fighters. That’s why I just want to check my skills, and I know I can finish him.”
Ferguson has lost two in a row after winning 12 on the bounce before that.