Khabib Nurmagomedov continues to campaign hard for a fight between fellow ex-champion Charles Oliveira and his close friend Islam Makhachev. Now, “The Eagle” has upped the gamesmanship.
In a recent interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Khabib welcomed the idea of a potential fight against “Do Bronx” in Brazil. He also confidently laid out their strategy en route to victory.
“I hear, like, they wanna make big show in Brazil, like December. OK, December is good date for Islam, too. If they wanna come to Abu Dhabi, fight with Islam, OK,” he said. I hear Charles Oliveira coach say ‘OK, come to Brazil, fight.’ No problem! Send us location!
“We’re gonna come to Brazil, Islam gonna ride Charles Oliveira like his horse. We gonna take this belt, we gonna show them if Sambo was easy, it would be called Jiu-Jitsu. And we gonna go home with UFC lightweight belt.
“We gonna come there two weeks before the fight, rent some big house, come with big team, make weight. We gonna make weight, we gonna finish Charles Oliveira on his game on the ground. On the ground in Brasilia land.”
“We gonna teach all fans what is this top control, how we finish people,” Khabib added. “We gonna take belt and go back. And we gonna take some big hearts from Brazilian fans. They gonna love Islam ground game.”
Apart from being a longtime training partner, Khabib's confidence also comes from seeing Makhachev against some of the world’s top grapplers, weight notwithstanding.
“I see how Islam go with a lot of ADCC-level guys. Even with ADCC champions. They tap when they grapple with Islam. I see. 88 kilo, 99 kilo, 77 kilo… I don’t wanna say name. But they tap. ADCC world champion.”
By now, fans of the sport know not to doubt what Oliveira brings to the table. He’s also set numerous records, including having the most number of submission wins in the UFC with a total of 16, and the most number of finishes in the UFC with 19, just to name a couple.
Khabib, however, isn’t that sold yet.
“He impressed me little bit, but every fight, he go down,” he said. “This one is, like, little bit bad for him, but every fight he go down. Couple times. Last fight, it was two, three time knock down?
“Nobody ever touch my face. And all the time he go down. People cannot talk about, like, compare me versus Charles Oliveira. He tap in UFC eight time. Please, come on.
“If he wanna deserve to (be named) greatest lightweight, he have to beat Islam, Beneil, couple more guys. And then we can talk. He have to be professional, make weight when he have championship belt.”
According to Oliveira, Makhachev must first face Beneil Dariush before he can decide on whether or not he will agree to a fight. The UFC has yet to reschedule the said booking originally intended for late February after it was canceled when Dariush pulled out on fight week due to injury.