UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev will corner Bellator lightweight champion Usman Nurmagomedov for his first title defense on March 10 at Bellator 292 in San Jose.
The Russian is set to face former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson in the quarter-final round of the Lightweight Grand Prix, whose winner will take home a prize of $1 million.
The undefeated 24-year-old fighter is considered one of the most exciting prospects in the sport, which is unsurprising considering his incredible fighting pedigree. Nurmagomedov is the younger brother of UFC bantamweight Umar Nurmagomedov and a cousin of the legendary Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Bellator’s young lightweight king also recently confirmed that his long-time teammate Islam Makhachev, who defended his own UFC belt against Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284, will be among those present in his corner for his title defense.
In a recent pre-fight press conference, Usman Nurmagomedov was asked who would be present in his corner for Bellator 292, and he replied:
“Islam Makhachev is here. Islam Mahmedov, Omar Nurmagomedov, my brother, and Javier coach.”
He further addressed rumors of Hasbulla making an appearance, stating:
“I don’t think so. He’s not coming… He’s [a] busy guy.”
Watch the full interview below:
Usman Nurmagomedov on Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284
During the same presser, Usman Nurmagomedov weighed in on the headlining event of UFC 284 between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski.
The UFC lightweight champion faced the toughest test of his career when he faced featherweight king Volkanovski. The two titleholders put on a spectacular show in a grueling fight that went the distance.
Makhachev ultimately won via unanimous decision, although the contest was incredibly close. While he retained his lightweight belt, Makhachev was denied his desired No.1 pound-for-pound spot.
While the judges’ scorecards have divided fan opinion, with many claiming ‘The Great’ should’ve gotten his hand raised, Usman Nurmagomedov has no doubts that Islam Makhachev won the contest fair and square. He stated:
“For me, there is no question that Islam won. He was dominating most of the time, except maybe that last minute when he missed that punch and ended up on his back. But overall, I think he was dominating, and I’m not saying that because he’s my friend… I know Volkanovski is a great guy… I think there is no question that he won.”
Usman Nurmagomedov is currently undefeated, with a professional record of 16-0. He recently defeated Patricky Pitbull at Bellator 288 to claim lightweight gold.