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Makhachev Ends The Pound-For-Pound Debate In UFC 294


There’s no denying it anymore: Islam Makhachev is the world’s greatest fighter in terms of power-to-weight ratio.

Makhachev did more than just defeat Alexander Volkanovski to retain his UFC lightweight title on Saturday at UFC 294. He delivered a strong left kick to Volkanovski’s head, sending the featherweight champion sprawling to the ground. Volkanovski has not been defeated since his fourth fight of the career, ten years prior.

Of course, there is a catch to this. Volkanovski took over with an 11-day notice period. Charles Oliveira had previously been forced to withdraw due to a cut sustained while training, but Makhachev was already getting set to fight him in Abu Dhabi. Was this Volkanovski at his best? Naturally not.

However, you cannot discount Makhachev either, as he was preparing to face an entirely different style of competition. Tall and lean, Oliveira is a skilled Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter who possesses deadly Muay Thai skills. Volkanovski is a lanky, compact utility player.

Additionally, Makhachev defeated Volkanovski at UFC 284 back in February. with both having a full camp. That one doesn’t have an asterisk. Makhachev is now 2-0 in that series if, as many do, you have Volkanovski and Makhachev as Nos. 1 and 2. It’s difficult to deny that the fighter from Dagestan is currently the best in the world.

The discussion around Jon Jones is distinct because it focuses on him in particular as the heavyweight champion at the moment.

Jones has the best resume in the history of the sport and has never really lost in the Octagon. There’s no denying it, and nobody comes close. However, it’s difficult to determine whether or not what he’s doing is better than Makhachev at the moment. If Jones goes out and steamrolls Stipe Miocic at UFC 295, we can revisit that conversation.

What about this individual, though, who assisted Makhachev in preparing for this fight? Could he top the accomplishments of Khabib Nurmagomedov, his mentor and close friend? With 14 victories in the UFC, Makhachev now has one more than Nurmagomedov. To further compare, Makhachev only had two lightweight championship defenses, whilst Nurmagomedov had three.

Not to mention that Nurmagomedov was a winner who never lost and retired unbeaten.

On Saturday, Makhachev equaled Nurmagomedov’s record of 13 victories in the UFC. In the promotion’s history, it is the third-longest milestone. The only two with more are Anderson Silva (16) and Kamaru Usman (15). After a few more victories, Makhachev will have to be considered among the all-time greats, not just in the conversation with Nurmagomedov.

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