MMA isn’t just about aggression and blood; it also fosters a strong sense of friendship and loyalty. Several examples come to mind, including the camaraderie between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev, both hailing from Dagestan, Russia. Despite not being blood-related, Nurmagomedov and Makhachev share a close bond. The 35-year-old has always served as a mentor and guide for the UFC Lightweight Champion, supporting him both inside and outside the octagon.

This strong friendship was recently brought into the limelight as Islam Mkahachev reflected on his bond with “The Eagle” while also reminiscing about the early days of their friendship.

Islam Makhachev shares his path to friendship with Khabib Nurmagomedov


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The UFC fans have consistently seen Khabib Nurmagomedov supporting Islam Makhachev in his corner during every major fight. This close bond was further emphasized in Makhachev’s recent Pound for Pound podcast interview with Kamaru Usman and Henry Cejudo. During the conversation, they delved into Makhachev’s upbringing and life journey.

I was born in Dagestan, you know, where all the kids have dreams. Now, it’s actually that all kids in Dagestan want to be UFC champions. When I was young, U just tried like a regular Dagestani kid. Everybody did something like wrestling or some mixed martial arts,” revealed the 32-year-old.

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The conversation didn’t stop there. Usman, intrigued by Makhachev’s background, asked him to elaborate on his training regime and the close friendship he shares with Khabib. The Lightweight Champion also reflected on his overall experience training alongside such a legendary fighter.

When I was young, I began with judo. I lived very close to the same area as Khabib. We went to the same school, and I saw him almost every day at school. I knew Khabib trained with his father in another gym, so I tried to find where they were training. When I went to the gym, at first, we didn’t do MMA,” the MMA fighter added.

via Imago

Makhachev continued, elaborating on his training background. He explained during his childhood, he, Abubakar, and Khabib Nurmagomedov, all trained together in sticking classes for several years. They also traveled frequently within Russia, forging a bond that transcended mere friendship. As the fighter revealed, they became like family, as close as any brother or cousins.


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When Makhachev Punished Khabib’s Cousin, “Young Eagle”

The 32-year-old’s close bond with the Nurmagomedov family extends beyond Khabib as he also shares a strong connection with the 35-year-old’s cousin Umar Nurmagomedov, known as “Young Eagle.” This camaraderie was showcased in a social media video that surfaced after Umar playfully lost a bet to Makhachev.


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His lighthearted competition involved a simple wager. Makhachev claimed he could toss a piece of trash into a dustbin from a distance while still inside his car. Undoubtedly skeptical, “Young Eagle” disagreed, and a friendly bet was struck. The loser would face the punishment of 40 push-ups. The UFC champion, ever confident, completed the task, winning the bet. This left Umar Nurmagomedov with no choice but to perform his push-ups, which he did rather humorously.

That same confidence will be crucial for the 32-year-old as he steps into the octagon in the main event of UFC 302 against Dustin Poirier. What do you think about the brotherly connection between the two Dagestani natives? Drop your views in the comments below.


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