Khabib explains why he wasn’t in Islam Makhachev’s corner at UFC 294

Khabib Nurmagomedov sheds light on why he didn’t attend childhood friend and UFC protege Islam Makhachev‘s sensational victory over Alexander Volkanovski.

The undefeated former UFC champion with a record of 29-0 explains that his absence from Makhachev’s corner in Abu Dhabi on Saturday night is not uncommon.

Nurmagomedov took on the role of Makhachev’s coach after retiring in 2020, but earlier this year he decided to step back from the UFC.

Makhachev shocked Volkanovski with a first-round knockout during their rematch at UFC 294, successfully defending his lightweight title.

In February, Makhachev outscored Volkanovski, who holds the featherweight belt, in an intense battle in Australia. The thrilling match left fans craving for a rematch.

Nurmagomedov congratulated Makhachev on his victory and responded to curious fans questioning his absence from ringside via Instagram.

“If you’re wondering where I’ve been and why I wasn’t in the corner, I’ve already provided an answer,” he wrote. “I no longer attend fights or involve myself in MMA. Please respect my decision, just as my brothers, friends, and sparring partners have. Our team’s achievements will forever be celebrated in MMA history.”

Makhachev had previously addressed Nurmagomedov’s absence from his corner before UFC 294, expressing understanding and support for his mentor’s choice.

“Here’s my explanation: We have a large team,” Makhachev stated. “What if Khabib is only present for one of us? We stand together as equals.

“Whether someone is a champion or still climbing the ranks, we support one another. If he’s there for my fight, he must be present for every member of our team, to ensure no one feels abandoned.

“He’s made it clear that he won’t attend fights or be in anyone’s corner. We all stand behind his decision.”

In the midst of the main event’s first round, Makhachev, a southpaw, grazed Volkanovski’s head with his left shin, causing the featherweight champion to wobble and then collapse. Makhachev, aged 31, followed up with a relentless barrage of hammer fists on the grounded Aussie, leaving him with a split brow.

Referee Marc Goddard intervened, confirming a decisive victory and title defense for Makhachev, who is both the student and childhood friend of UFC lightweight legend Khabib Nurmagomedov.

This win extends Makhachev’s winning streak to 13 fights, dating back to 2015 when he suffered his sole professional loss. On the other hand, Volkanovski, although beaten three times as a professional, remains undefeated at his preferred weight of 145lbs.


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