Islam Makhachev Quotes: Wisdom And Inspiration From The UFC Champion

He usually lets his fighting do the talking.

Islam Makhachev Quotes: Wisdom And Inspiration From The UFC Champion

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Islam Makhachev isn’t just an impressive fighter inside the Octagon. He is also an intelligent individual who has given us with some memorable lines.

The UFC lightweight champion is a man of few words. Yet when he talks, Makhachev makes a lot of sense and imparts wisdom not many 32-year-olds have.

Let’s take at some of the most iconic quotes from Islam Makhachev:

“What does this title represent? It means you’re the best in the world and if you’re the best in the world, it doesn’t matter who’s going to be standing across from you. What do I say? No? Never. Let’s do this!”

Makhachev was scheduled to fight Charles Oliveira in a rematch at UFC 294. However, Oliveira suffered facial injuries during training and had to withdraw from the bout with less than two weeks to go before fight night. With time running out, the UFC scampered to find a replacement opponent. 

Australia’s Alexander Volkanovski, who was then the UFC featherweight champion, agreed to fight Makhachev at UFC 294 on 12 days’ notice. Volkanovski had been asking for a rematch after he gave Makhachev a run for his title in the 2023 Fight of the Year winner at UFC 284. Although the fight offer was on very short notice, Volk accepted the challenge.

For Makhachev, the change in opponent from Oliveira to Volkanovski was a huge adjustment. Islam and his team had prepared for a grappling war with the Brazilian. However, with Volkanovski, he had to devise a game plan that would counter Volk’s impeccable striking. When he was asked if he would agree to fight Volkanovski, he gave that iconic quote. 

The quote was so brilliant that UFC President Dana White had it posted on one of the walls art the UFC Performance Institute.

“My coach was the first to believe in me when I first came to the gym and did not even think of becoming a fighter. I wasn’t special, I wasn’t different from the rest and throughout my career, he believed in me and told me that I would be a champion, that I just needed to practice. And today, when I became a champion, I would really like to put this belt on my coach, in the octagon. If you were by my side, it would have been a more meaningful victory for me. May the Almighty grant you the highest rank of Paradise coach”

After becoming lightweight champion at UFC 280, Islam Makhachev paid tribute to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s late father Abdulmanap. Makhachev and Khabib trained together since they were kids and while The Eagle was the first to become UFC champion, his dad always reminded Islam that he will have his time too, he will also become champion one day.

But Abdulmanap was no longer there to see Islam conquer the lightweight division. Khabib’s father died in 2020 due to complications caused by the COVID-19 virus. He was only 57 and still had plenty of plans for his students, including Islam. 

Following Abdulmanap’s death, it was Khabib who personally took over as Islam’s mentor. He assembled the best team around Islam and personally made sure that Makhachev always entered his fights as best prepared as possible. After submitting Charles Oliveira at UFC 280 Islam paid tribute to Abdulmanap with this memorable quote. 

“It doesn’t matter how I won today, now I’m not just champion, I’m the best fighter in the world. I am very happy. Now people are going to call me not just champ, but ‘best fighter in the world.’ This is my dream, and it doesn’t matter how I won, I’m very happy.”

Islam Makhachev was supposed to make easy work of ‘short guy’ Alexander Volkanovski in their first meeting at UFC 284 in Perth, Australia. But it seemed that the home crowd gave Volk an extra push as he took Makhachev to the five-round limit and gave in all that he could handle.

The Aussie outlanded the champion 164 to 95 in total strikes landed, including a 70-57 in total significant strikes landed. But while Volkanovski won the stand-up battle, Makhachev competed four out of nine total takedowns while controlling Volk on the mat for a good 7:37 minutes. 

After the final horn, the judges scored the bout in Islam’s favor. The final scores were close with judges Ben Cartlidge and David Lethaby scoring the bout at 47-48, and Derek Cleary having it 49-46. Although he barely beat Volk, Makhachev did not just retain his lightweight title but he also took the UFC pound-for-pound title from the Aussie.