‘Shut up’ and admit Islam Makhachev deserves UFC title shot

Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje were mostly cordial, yet competitive in the accumulation to their UFC 254 bout in September 2020.

Now in 2021, things have actually taken a various tone, as Nurmagomedov training partner and now underling Islam Makhachev races Gaethje to be very first to challenge for UFC light-weight gold in 2022.

Both Gaethje (23-3 MIXED MARTIAL ARTS, 6-3 UFC) and Makhachev (21-1 MIXED MARTIAL ARTS, 10-1 UFC) are coming off big wins in current weeks. At UFC 268 on Saturday, Gaethje beat previous Bellator champ Michael Chandler by means of consentaneous choice. One week prior, Makhachev made fast work of Dan Hooker with a first-round submission.

With champ Charles Oliveira arranged for Dec. 11 versus Dustin Poirier at UFC 269 in Las Vegas, it’s uncertain who will wait for the victor. Nevertheless, in an Instagram remark Thursday, Nurmagomedov made it clear who he believes is the clear cut frontrunner – and it wasn’t Gaethje.

In last 8 fight, you got finished 3 times Justin,” Nurmagomedov composed. “You had an opportunity to become champion, but you fell asleep Islam is on the 9 win streak, 3 fight in 2021 and all finishes. Just shut up and admit that Islam deserves this title shot, not you.”

As it stands, Gaethje is 5-1 in his latest 6 battles with the only loss coming versus Nurmagomedov. On the other hand, Makhachev flights a nine-fight winning streak going back to 2015.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.