Islam Makhachev is considered by many MMA experts to be the next big event in the UFC lightweight division. The Dagestan fighter, who is one of the most complete lightweight on the list, is known to scare off his competition even before joining them inside the Octagon. Javier Mendez, who coaches Khabib camp, believes Makhachev is a better striker than “The Eagle” while also being as good a grapple as the former champion.
Ranked ninth in the UFC’s lightweight division, it is argued that Islam Makhachev could have been in the top five now if his rivals weren’t afraid of him. Despite a loss in his MMA career that ended in a knockout, the 29-year-old is the least affected fighter in the UFC. However, the lightweight division is full of killers, some of whom are quite capable of giving Dagestan a hard time. Let’s take a look at five UFC lightweight weights that can put an end to the hype of Islam Makhachev.
# 5. Michael chandler
Michael Chandler is a former three-time Bellator lightweight champion with immense experience in fighting MMA fighters of all styles. He had a meteoric rise in the UFC after knocking out Dan Hooket in his debut. ‘Iron’ proved his knockout power and punching prowess by achieving 10 KO / TKO victories during his MMA career, of which he spent a decade with Bellator.
However, Michael Chandler is also an acclaimed grappler. He is an NCAA Division I All-American, known for his withdrawal defense and wrestling IQ. Chandler has seven submission wins in his career. His knockdown after coming dangerously close to a choke in the back against Charles Oliveira at UFC 262 was enough to demonstrate his skill on the ground.
He also publicly stated that he could eliminate Khabib Nurmagomedov. With the retirement of the former UFC champion, Islam Makhachev comes the closest to the grueling Dagestan fighting style that “The Eagle” possessed.
Michael Chandler can provide a tough challenge for Islam Makhachev, both in the stand-up arena and on the floor. He’s never lost a single fight by submission, which could make things really interesting if that match goes. The No.4-ranked UFC lightweight is capable of defeating the seemingly unstoppable force.
Read also: 5 things you need to know about Islam Makhachev, the next big thing in the UFC lightweight division.