Khabib Nurmagomedov expects his protege and current UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev to make history.
This past October, Makhachev's debut title match went as smoothly as it possibly could have. In round two, Makhachev forced Charles Oliveira, the former divisional champion and UFC record holder for submissions, to submit via a close arm triangle choke.
Alexander Volkanovski, the current featherweight champion, will be Makhachev's opponent in his inaugural fight as the new lightweight champion.
On February 11 in Perth, Australia, the two will square up for pound-for-pound dominance, and Nurmagomedov thinks Makhachev will use it as the beginning of an epic but brief reign at the top.
In regards to Makhachev and title defences, Nurmagomedov said to Red Corner MMA, "I think he needs at least five. Possibly six. That would be perfect. Six defences equals six fights over three years. In that case, it's possible that he will no longer play the sport because nobody can always be the best.”
"The way the Almighty created man, he becomes strong first, then weak. He is both young and old. The target is five to six defences.”
At lightweight, Nurmagomedov is presently tied with B.J. Penn and Frankie Edgar for the most successful championship defences with three. The 31-year-old Makhachev has had a nearly perfect career, suffering just one defeat in 24 matches and suffering little octagon damage.
Numerous members of the UFC community anticipate that it may very well be "the Makhachev period" for as long as he sees fit.