Memoir of Islam Makhachev - UFC Lightweight Champion

Memoir of Islam Makhachev - UFC Lightweight Champion

1. Islam Makhachev’s Details

Name Islam Ramazanovich Makhachev
Pro MMA Record 23-1-0
Nickname N/A
Born Makhachkala, Dagestan, Russia
Date of Birth 27 October 1991
Age 31 Years
Nationality Russian
College/University N/A
Last Fight UFC 280 2022
Last Weigh In Lightweight
Stance Southpaw
Weight Class Lightweight
Weight 70 Kg (154.3 lbs)
Height 5’10’’
Reach 70.5
Career Disclosed Earning Approximately $ 2.2 Million
Fighting out of Russia
Foundational Style Mixed Martial Arts, Sambo
Trainer & Coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Javier Mendez
Team American Kickboxing Academy

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2. Islam Makhachev’s Biography

Islam Makhachev, UFC’s Lightweight Champion, has a 23-1-0 UFC record.  He is a Russian professional MMA fighter. He has won 11 consecutive fights in the history of UFC. He trains under the former UFC Champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov. He currently competes in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

2.1. Islam Makhachev’s Early Life

Islam Makhachev was born on 27 September 1991 in Makhachkala, Dagestan ASSR (Dagestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic) in Russia.

2.2. At Different Sports

Islam trained in different sports when he was a child. He used to participate in football, wrestling, and other striking and grappling martial arts.

2.3. Trained and Competed in Sambo

Islam grew up in a village named Burshi. He was perceived as a weak child by the surrounding people as he was new there. Due to this, he got involved in some fights. He started training in Sambo when he was 15 years old. He specifically trained in combat style sambo. Living in a village transformed Islam as life was really hard there.

“This labor, building, digging, gathering, breeding livestock, it’s all physical labor. Hard work is in our DNA. Often running up the mountains, sometimes three times a day, working out using stone. These harsh conditions create real men.”

(Islam Makhachev)

Combat sambo opened the world of martial art and fighting for him. He combined wrestling and grappling along with striking techniques. In the World Combat Sambo Championship 2016, Islam won a gold medal.

2.4. Became Sambo Russian National Champion

Islam had a victorious Sambo career. He was 4 times Russian National Champion in Sambo. As mentioned earlier, he also won the FIAS World Sambo Championship and became the World Combat Sambo Federation World Champion. In the final match, Islam scored 7-0 over Valentin Benishev.

2.5. Practice Jiu-Jitsu

Islam Makhachev also trains in Jiu-Jitsu at the American Kickboxing Academy. He is not a Black Belt in Jiu-Jitsu but he trains in it for the sake of submissions and BJJ techniques. It is clearly evident in his fights, especially in his submissions.

3. Islam Makhachev’s MMA Career

3.1 Trained Under Khabib Nurmagomedov

Islam Makhachev knew Khabib Nurmagomedov his whole life. Both of them went to the same school. It was Khabib who inspired Islam towards MMA and later UFC. Islam started training under Khabib when Khabib was still competing. Later on, Khabib became Islam’s all-time coach. Islam also trained under Khabib’s father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov.

Khabib once said about Islam:

“Islam lived next door, and we used to meet at the training. We went to the same school, and trained in the same gym. Since childhood, we have known each other for almost 20 years”.

Khabib was not only Islam’s coach but also his close friend and Islam followed in Khabib’s footsteps. It is clearly evident that Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

“I want to be the next Khabib. I want to be like Khabib. Honestly, I want to smash all my opponents like Kabib, too. I have a little bit of the same (statistics), but I agree. If somebody says, ‘You fight like Khabib’ or ‘You gonna be like Khabib’, I want to be”.

(Islam Makhachev)

3.2. Islam Makhachev’s MMA Debut

Islam started training MMA in 2010, while he was an active sambist. He even won the Tsumada Fighting Championship 4 by a unanimous decision. After this victory, Islam was noticed by one of the best organizations, the Mixed Martial Arts 1 (M-1) Challenge.

In 2011, Islam made his MMA debut by fighting against Tengiz Khuchua in the M-1 Global MMA tournament. He won the fight via knockout. After this victory, Islam decided to earn fame in MMA.

It was Islam’s competitive instinct that took him to a famous and life-changing fighting league, M-1 Challenge.

3.3. M-1 Challenge 38

In 2013, Islam competed in the M-1 Challenge 38. He won the fight via unanimous decision.

3.4. M-1 Challenge 41

In 2013, Islam competed with the BJJ Black Belt, Rander Junio. It was a tough fight. Islam again won this fight via unanimous decision. In all the M-1 Challenges MMA tournaments, Islam won every fight, hence cementing his name as one of the top MMA fighters of all time.

In M-1 Challenge 49, Islam submitted Ivlev via Armbar. That clearly showed how BJJ influenced Islam’s fighting style.

3.5. Ultimate Fighting Championship Debut

After Islam’s successful M-1 Challenge tournaments, he signed a 4-fight contract with UFC. It was the peak moment of Islam’s successful career. Being acknowledged by the UFC is the biggest dream of any MMA fighter.

In the first fight at UFC 187, Islam submitted Leo Kuntz on 23 May 2015. Islam lost the 2nd fight with Adriano Martins at UFC 192. This is the only lost fight of Islam in his UFC career. After that, he never lost a fight. Islam’s superiority in the stand-up as well as in the ground fight is unmatchable.

3.6. Suspension of Islam From Competing in the UFC

On 16 April 2016, Islam was to compete with Drew Dober at the UFC on Fox 19 event. During the drug testing process, Islam tested positive for the use of meldonium which was banned because of being anti-ischemic.

Islam used meldonium because it was prescribed to him by the doctor. Islam had to go through surgery because of a heart problem. When Islam was suspended, his team fully supported him and proved to the authorities that Islam was innocent.

After some months, the suspension charges were lifted and Islam was allowed to compete in the UFC.

3.7. UFC Fight Night 94 and UFC 208

Despite the suspension, Islam never stopped training. Rather he was training even harder to make a strong comeback which he did at the UFC Fight Night 94. He faced off against Chris Wade and won the fight by unanimous decision.

At UFC 208, Islam again won the fight via unanimous decision. Islam Makhachev did not come slow till this day. In every fight, he reminds the MMA community that he is the best MMA Fighter and is now the UFC Lightweight Champion.

3.8. UFC Fight Night 115

On 2 September 2017, Islam was scheduled to fight with Michel Prazeres at UFC Fight Night 115. But Islam was replaced by Mads Burnell because Islam pulled out of the fight due to religious reasons.

3.9. UFC 220

In 2018, Islam came back and defeated Gleison Tibau on January 20 at UFC 220. Islam won the fight via knockout in round 1 in just 57 seconds.

3.10. Awarded with “Fight Of The Night”

In 2019 at the UFC On ESPN+ 7 event, Islam defeated Arman Tsarukyan. Islam Makhachev on this victory won the “Fight of the Night” award.

3.11. UFC 242 and UFC 249

Islam defeated the 4th-degree BJJ Black Belt, Davi Ramos, on 7th September 2019 at UFC 242. The fight was an intense one as both fighters were not willing to give in. The punches by Davi were brutal ones but Islam kept on dodging them. In the end, Islam won the fight via unanimous decision.

Islam was to compete with Alexander Hernandez on 18 April 2022 at UFC 249. But due to COVID restrictions on traveling, Omar Morales substituted Islam at the event.

3.12. Suffered From a Staph Infection

On 24 October 2020, Islam was scheduled to compete with Rafael de Anjos at UFC 254. But as Rafael suffered from Covid-19, the match was postponed. In November 2020, the match was again rescheduled. Unfortunately, Islam could not compete due to staph infection then.

3.13. UFC Lightweight Champion

On 22 October 2022, Islam competed against Charles Oliveira for the title “UFC Lightweight Champion” at UFC 280 event. Islam won the fight by submitting Charles with an Arm Triangle Choke. Islam also earned the “Performance of the Night” bonus.

3.14. Received a National Award

After becoming UFC Lightweight Champion in October 2022, Islam Makhachev was awarded “Order For Merit to the Republic of Dagestan” for his victorious performance in martial arts.

4. Islam Makhachev’s Historic Fights

4.1. Islam Makhachev Vs. Charles Oliveira

The fight between Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira was the epic fight of the year. Charles Oliveira is the former UFC Lightweight Champion. He was fighting against Islam to protect his Championship title. Charles has the most submissions (16) in UFC’s history. He has a 33-9-0 UFC record.

The event was UFC 280. Charles, known for his leg attacks, went full beast on Islam. He attacked Islam with fierce punches. His reach is 74. Islam, in the start, was playing defensively. He attacked Charles but was protecting himself from Charles’ deadly punches and leg attacks.

Islam pinned Charles to the ground and poured punches onto him. Charles tried to apply a Triangle Choke but Islam quickly got out of it. Later on, Islam took Charles down by using Sambo techniques. Islam submitted Charles Oliveira via Arm Triangle Choke and became the UFC’s Lightweight Champion.

4.2. Islam Makhachev Vs. Bobby Green

Bobby Green fights in the lightweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He has a 29-14-1 UFC record. Green was relaxed at the advent of the fight. He was playing in full defensive mode. Islam tried to trip Green but Green had a strong balanced position. Green was thoroughly aware of Makhachev’s fighting style and was not giving him any loophole to attack.

Islam was relentless in his techniques and eventually took Green down. Islam got on top of Green and tried to suffocate him by constricting his movements and breathing pattern. Green tried to sneak but Islam was on Green with all his power and force.

Islam got on the full mount position and threw punches at Green’s head. Green attempted to protect himself but no one could bear Islam’s punches. Islam at last won the fight with TKO punches.

4.3. Islam Makhachev Vs. Arman Tsarukyan

Arman Tsarukyan, one of the UFC’s Lightweight contenders had an extremely mind-blowing fight against Islam Makhachev. Arman has a 19-3-0 UFC record. Islam is strategic with his leg attacks which is why most fighters become bewildered by getting his one kick as they fall to the ground.

With Arman, leg attacks were a different scenario. It was like he was fully aware of Islam’s leg attacks which is why he dodged them successfully. Unfortunately, when he tried the leg attacks, he went a little off balance. This gave Islam the benefit of attacking and he pinned Arman to the Octagon.

Arman tried to take Islam down with a single-leg takedown, but Islam’s perfectly balanced position did not let him do so. Islam escaped the takedown, tripped Arman on the ground, and took the full mount position.

The fight went on for a longer time and it eventually exhausted Arman. The fight then took an advantageous turn for Islam and he rained down punches on Arman by taking him down on the ground. Islam won the fight via a unanimous decision from the judges.

4.4. Islam Makhachev Vs. Thiago Moises

Thiago Moises, UFC’s Lightweight contender has a 16-6-0 UFC record. Islam Makhachev has the 2nd longest active win streak in UFC’s Lightweight Division.

 Thiago was aggressive at the start of the fight. His leg attacks were similar to Makhachev’s leg attacks. Despite Thiago’s aggressive fighting style, Islam took him down on the ground. Thiago had a balanced stance but could not bear Islam’s takedown.

In the next round, Thiago came back even stronger. His punches were more refined and intense. Thiago once took Islam down from the standing position but Islam instantly took the dominant position. Islam’s punches made Thiago’s movements slow and he only tried to save himself from the damage.

At last, Islam submitted Thiago Moises via Rear Naked Choke and won the fight.

4.5. Islam Makhachev Vs. Leo Kuntz

Leo Kuntz is UFC’s Lightweight fighter with an 18-4-1 UFC record. Islam Makhachev and Leo Kuntz were scheduled to fight in the UFC 187 event. Leo was fully confident at the start of the fight. As soon as Islam threw his punches at Leo, Leo was pinned to the ring. He attempted to defend himself from Islam’s punches but Islam was going into full beast mode.

Later on, Islam tripped Leo’s leg and he landed on the ground flatly. Leo attempted to stand up but Islam was on top of him, exerting all his force on Leo. Islam Makhachev submitted Leo Kuntz via Rear Naked Choke in the 3rd round. It was like Leo could not handle Islam’s punches and was stunned in the 1st round.

5. Islam Makhachev - UFC’s Lightweight Champion

At the UFC 280 event, Islam Makhachev defeated Charles Oliveira by submitting him to an Arm Triangle Choke. Islam became the 2022 UFC Lightweight Champion. It was a terrific victory for Islam Makhachev. Till 2022, he has lost only one fight. His leg attacks and punches are the reason for his stupendous achievements.

He is now known as the “Undisputed Lightweight UFC Champion”. He is currently at the 5th rank in the UFC lightweight division. During the Octagon interview, Islam said that had trained hard for years to reach this status. It was his sheer determination, toiled hard work and Khabib’s training. He also gave credit to his coach Khabib Nurmagomedov and Khabib’s father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov for his success.

Right now, Islam is training under the coach, Khabib Nurmagomedov, for the pound-to-pound Championship to compete against Alexander Volkanovski on 12 February 2023. It will definitely be a defining year for Islam Makhachev.

Islam Makhachev is one of those fighters who yearn for the top position and when they get it, they want to remain on the top. Islam never settled for less in his life that is why he is such an accomplished fighter whom UFC recognized early. A lot of fighters get on the top and then become complacent. Islam is not one of those fighters.

He relentlessly struggles for his goal and then uses everything in his power to retain that top position. His upcoming fight with Alexander Volkanovski is the fight where he is going to defend his UFC Lightweight Champion title.

6. Islam Makhachev’s Finish Fights

Islam Makhachev’s finishing style is the deadliest. He does not hold a rank in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, still, he is so adept in submission techniques.

6.1. Islam Makhachev Vs. Gleison Tibau

Islam is famous for his punches which he learned from his coach, Khabib Nurmagomedov. His fight with Tibau was an epic fight. At the start of the match, he rained heavy punches on Tibau. Tibau could not handle them and fell to the ground. It was like a stunning moment.

Islam only punched Tibau once in the face and Tibau went blank. He was conscious but did not protect himself from further punches. It looked like Tibau was embracing the damage. As Tibau turned stiff, Islam got on top of him and took advantage of the opportunity.

6.2. Islam Makhachev Vs. Drew Dober

Islam Makhachev is one of those UFC fighters who know how to entangle their opponent’s leg and then trip them over so that they fall on the ground. Islam’s leg trips are too efficient and sleek. He pinned Dober on the ground by tripping him over.

Islam submitted Dober via the Arm Triangle Choke. At one point in the match, Dober had the dominant position but Islam clearly knows how to reverse the whole situation. Islam’s drive and focus are pretty much unheard of when he is inside the ring.

At one point Islam goes full defensive and when his offensive personality takes over, the whole game changes in only his favor. The whole highlight of the match was how he took Dober down.

6.3. Islam Makhachev Vs. Kajan Johnson

The double attack of Islam was the crux of the fight with Kajan Johnson. Firstly, Islam took Johnson down, and then he secured Johnson’s legs to restrict his movements. This double leg is what Khabib used to do. Khabib used to trap his opponent's legs so that they could not build back up to their knees.

Islam then restricted Johnson’s movements and then went for submission. As Johnson was protecting himself well, Islam attacked him with punches, and as soon as he caught him off guard, Islam submitted him with an Armbar.

7. Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Influence on Islam Makhachev

Khabib has a strong influence on Islam. Khabib and Islam have trained together for 22 years. After Khabib’s retirement from the UFC after his father, he became Islam’s all-time coach. It is evident from Islam’s fighting style that he has been trained under the undisputed legend of all times. When Islam won the UFC Lightweight Championship, he gave the credit for his victory to Khabib and said:

“He and his father make me”

Islam always admired Khabib even when Islam was not in the competitive circle. Upon Khabib and his father’s advice, Islam went for MMA. He himself always wanted to do so but under the leadership of Khabib and his father, Islam made UFC his whole life.

Islam had so much respect for Khabib that when he entered UFC, he deliberately did not increase his weight above 155 pounds because he did not want to fight against Khabib. Even Islam’s fighting style resembles Khabib's to a greater extent.

At the UFC Lightweight Championship, Islam gave his belt to Khabib to show his respect for his friend and coach. Islam is so fascinated by Khabib that he even said,

“I wanna be like Khabib, you know. He is a great man, you know. He’s a champion, he has a lot of money now, a lot of everything, but he’s still a humble guy”.

8. Islam Makhachev’s Championships and Accomplishments

8.1. Ultimate Fighting Championship

  • UFC Lightweight Champion
  • Fight of the Night
  • Performance of the Night
  • Significant strikes absorbed per minute in the history of UFC (0.95)
  • 3rd longest win streak in UFC Lightweight division.
  • 11 consecutive wins in his UFC career
  • 2nd muslim UFC Champion after Khabib Nurmagomedov
  • Professional UFC record of 23 wins and only 1 lost fight

8.2. ProFC

  • ProFC Union National Cup

8.3. MMAjunkie

  • 2022 Submission of the Year vs. Charles Oliveira
  • 2022 Submission of the Month vs. Charles Oliveira
  • 2021 Submission of the Month vs. Dan Hooker
  • 2021 Submission of the Month vs. Drew Dober

8.4. Sambo

  • Federation Internationale Amateur de Sambo (FIAS)
    • 2016 FIAS World Combat Sambo Championships Gold Medalist
  • World Combat Sambo Federation
    • Combat Sambo World Champion
  • Combat Sambo Federation of Russia
    • 4 time Combat Sambo Russian National Champion
  • All Russian
    • 2016 Russian Nationals Champion

8.5. Grappling

  • United World Wrestling (UWW) Russian Grappling Federation
    • North Caucasian Federal District 1st

9. Islam Makhachev’s Professional MMA Record Breakdown

24 Matches 23 Wins 1 Losses
By Knockout 4 1
By Submission 11 0
By Decision 8 0

10. Islam Makhachev’s MMA Fight History

Date Event Opponent W/L/D Method Location Time Round
22 Oct, 2022 UFC 280 Charles Oliveira W Arm Triangle Choke Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 3:16 2
26 Feb, 2022 UFC Fight Night: Makhachev vs. Green Bobby Green W TKO Punches Las Vegas, Nevada, United States 3:23 1
30 Oct, 2021 UFC 267 Dan Hooker W Kimura Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 2:25 1
17 July, 2021 UFC on ESPN: Makhachev vs. Moises Thiago Moises W Rear Naked Choke Las Vegas, Nevada, United States 2:38 4
06 March, 2021 UFC 259 Drew Dober W Arm Triangle Choke Las Vegas, Nevada, United States 1:37 3
07 Sept, 2019 UFC 242 Davi Ramos W Unanimous Decision Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 5:00 3
20 April, 2019 UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Oleinik Arman Tsarukyan W Unanimous Decision Saint Petersburg, Russia 5:00 3
28 July, 2018 UFC on Fox: Alvarez vs. Poirier 2 Kajan Johnson W Armbar Calgary, Alberta, Canada 4:43 1
20 Jan, 2018 UFC 220 Gleison Tibau W KO Punch Boston, Massachusetts, United States 0:57 1
11 Feb, 2017 UFC 208 Nik Lentz W Unanimous Decision Brooklyn, New York, United States 5:00 3
17 Sept, 2016 UFC Fight Night: Poirier vs. Johnson Chris Wade W Unanimous Decision Hidalgo, Texas, United States 5:00 3
03 Oct, 2015 UFC 192 Adriano Martins L TKO Punch Houston, Texas, United States 1:46 1
23 May, 2015 UFC 187 Leo Kuntz W Rear Naked Choke Las Vegas, Nevada, United States 2:38 2
07 Sept, 2014 M-1 Challenge 51 Ivica Truscek W Inverted Triangle Choke Saint Petersburg, Russia 4:45 3
07 June, 2014 M-1 Challenge 49 Yuri Ivlev W Armbar Ingushetia, Russia 1:49 1
21 Aug, 2013 M-1 Challenge 41 Rander Junio W Unanimous Decision Saint Petersburg, Russia 5:00 3
09 April, 2013 M-1 Challenge 38 Mansour Barnaoui W Unanimous Decision Saint Petersburg, Russia 5:00 3
02 Sept, 2012 Lion’s Fights 2 Anatoly Kormilkin W Armbar Saint Petersburg, Russia 3:17 1
15 Dec, 2011 Siberian Fighting Championship 1 Migel Grigoryan W Rear Naked Choke Tomsk, Russia 4:25 1
02 July, 2011 ProFC: Union Nation Cup Final Vladimir Egoyan W Split Decision Rostov-on-Don, Russia 5:00 2
1 July, 2011 Tsumada Fighting Championship 5 Magomed Ibragimov W Triangle Choke Tsumandinsky, Russia 3:15 2
06 May, 2011 ProFC: Union Nation Cup 15 Martiros Grigoruan W TKO Punches Simferopol, Ukraine 2:52 1
12 Feb, 2011 M-1 Selection Ukraine 2010: The Finals Tengiz Khuchua W KO Punch Kyiv, Ukraine 0:30 2
01 Aug, 2010 Tsumada Fighting Championship Magomed Bekbolatov W Unanimous Decision Tsumandinsky, Russia 5:00 2

11. Famous Fight Links


Islam Makhachev vs Thiago Moises UFC Vegas 31 FULL FIGHT CHAMPION

#UFC280 Pelea Gratis: Makhachev vs. Green

Islam Makhachev vs Dan Hooker: Recall the fight

Photo Credit: @islam_makhachev & @khabib_nurmagomedov

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