Khabib Nurmagomedov admits why Islam Makhachev's fight with Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284 was emotionally difficult for him

Former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov admits why Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284 was “emotionally difficult” for him.

‘The Eagle’ shares an immensely close relationship with Makhachev, having grown up training together under the guidance of Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. But his close friendship with Makhachev was not the only reason why Khabib Nurmagomedov found it difficult to manage his emotions during UFC 284.

According to the former lightweight champion, the circumstances surrounding the fight is what made Islam Makhachev’s matchup with Alexander Volkanovski unique in the eyes of ‘The Eagle.’

During an interview with Gorilla Energy, Khabib Nurmagomedov said:

“Because it was emotionally difficult for me. A difficult battle far from home. Acclimatization time for recovery is 11 hours less than in Abu Dhabi. For Islam, it was important when you have 11 hours more. You can eat one time, sleep one time, gain 2-3 kg.. It was such a hard moment, and I understood it all.

“It may not have been visible to the viewers. I understood all this. And I knew that they would enter the cage in 28 hours. They entered [the cage] in Abu Dhabi after 39 hours. This is very important. And another time zone. These are not excuses. Because of this I was worried, and for the first time in my life, I wasn’t around. That’s why I worried.”

Islam Makhachev is known for cutting a large amount of weight to make the 155 pound limit, and having 11 hours less to rehydrate that than normal would certainly have affected him on fight night.

Coupled with that was the absence of Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 284, as ‘The Eagle’ had announced he would be stepping away from his role as an MMA coach prior to Makhachev’s bout with ‘The Great’.

Javier Mendez reveals how worried Khabib Nurmagomedov was before UFC 284

Head coach of American Kickboxing Academy (AKA), Javier Mendez, has known Khabib Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev for over a decade.

The pair of lightweights have trained at AKA since entering the U.S. in 2012, and both men share a fantastic relationship with Mendez.

According to Mendez, who was in Makhachev’s corner against Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284, ‘The Eagle’ was immensely worried about the matchup.

During an appearance on the Jibber with Jaber podcast, Javier Mendez revealed conversations he had with Khabib Nurmagomedov prior to UFC 284. He said:

“Khabib would call me up and would say, ‘Coach, I’m really worried about this fight, Volkanovski is really tough, I’m concerned for Islam. I was like, ‘I’m not, we’re gonna win this fight. I don’t know how easy and how hard but we’re gonna win this fight. So, I know you’re worried Khabib but I’m not worried.'”

Watch the video below from 37:45:

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