Islam Makhachev realized his life’s ambition on Saturday night, claiming the vacant UFC lightweight title with a stunning submission victory over former champion Charles Oliveira. The win also realized an ambition of his mentor and friend Khabib Nurmagomedov, who has sought for Makhachev to lift that belt ever since he relinquished it with his retirement from MMA in 2020.
Reportedly, Nurmagomedov and his team went the extra mile in getting Makhachev ready for his title shot opportunity at UFC 280. UFC commentary Daniel Cormier, a former training partner of both Nurmagomedov and Makhachev, revealed that ‘Team Khabib’ has spent nearly a million dollars on preparations for the contest with Oliveira (ht MMA Mania).
This figure vastly outdoes what most fighters pay for their camps. BE’s own Roxanne Modafferi recently revealed her camp costs were just over a $1,000. That rate isn’t typical, though. Other fighters have estimated their fight camp costs at $8,000 and $14,500.
Last year, former UFC bantamweight champion Meisha Tate stated that around 98% of her $200,000 purse to fight Marion Reneau in her comeback fight went to expenses around fight camp, nutrition, travel, agent fees, etc.
It’s clear that the cost of a fight camp varies wildly from fighter to fighter. It’s also clear that many fighters, whether they be debutantes or former champions, often break even (or worse) with their costs to compete versus pay-off when they do.
In the case of Makhachev, it seems the money that went towards preparations was money well spent. He made light work of a man who holds UFC records for wins and finishes in the promotion.
Makhachev finished Oliveira, by arm triangle choke, in the second round. It is now believed that Makhachev will defend his title against UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, who is expected to vacate the 145 lb title and move up in weight class.