Where is Islam Makhachev From? The Origin Of A Champion

Where is Islam Makhachev From

UFC lightweight king Islam Makhachev hails from Dagestan in Russia. The mountainous republic is located in the eastern part of the Northern Caucasus Region of Russia. The Republic of Dagestan is the most ethnically-diverse region in the Russian Federation with over 40 ethnicities  comprising its population of over 3.2 million.

Makhachev was born in the Dagestani capital of Makhachkala, which is located on the Caspian Sea. It is the largest city on the Northern Caucasus and the 4th largest overall in the Caucasia. Particularly, Islam was born in the remote village of Burshi. Islam attended Dagestan State University where he studied sports and physical education.

He is the second Dagestani fighter to win a championship in the UFC, with the other being his good friend and mentor Khabib Nurmagomedov. But Khabib retired after the death of his father and Islam’s trainer Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov in 2018. After his retirement, Khabib pushed for Islam to fight for the belt and after the lightweight title resided shortly in Brazil, it returned to Dagestan in 2022 and is still there now.

After defeating Oliveira at UFC 280, Makhachev returned to a hero’s welcome in Dagestan. Islam continues to train in the Dagestani mountains which has an altitude of 1750 meters. Two years ago, old footage of a young Islam with Khabib and his father surfaced online.

“It’s 1,750 metres [above sea level]. Pine forest, you can see for yourself how hard it is to breathe here. As soon as we go down [from the mountain], it becomes easier for us. But the task is like this… train hard, fight easy.” said the late Abdulmanap.

Dagestan’s location on the world map makes it a perfect breeding ground for champions. True enough, it has produced two UFC champions and many more from other organizations through Team Khabib.Islam Makhachev however, is their crown jewel.