Khabib shares shock prediction for protege’s UFC title fight
The Russian MMA legend thinks Charles Oliveira could shy away from his UFC 280 clash with Islam Makhachev
Brazil’s Charles Oliveira will be a no-show for his lightweight title showdown at UFC 280 against Islam Makhachev, according to Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The bold prediction regarding the main event on October 22 appeared on Thursday on the Twitter account of the former great of the division, who himself bowed out in 2020 with an unblemished 29-0 record.
“I just think Charles Oliveira will not show up in Abu Dhabi and the UFC will replace Charles with Beneil Dariush,” read the tweet from Khabib’s official account.
“Regardless of who the opponent will be, [Islam Makhachev] is on his way to becoming the best in the world,” the Dagestani signed off.
I just think Charles Oliveira will not show up in Abu Dhabi and the UFC will replace Charles with Beneil Dariush.
Regardless of who the opponent will be, @MAKHACHEVMMA is on his way to becoming the best in the world #ufc280
— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) September 16, 2022
Oliveira is yet to respond to the apparent attempt at mind games, but has been vocal before about some of the trash talk coming from Makhachev’s camp – which includes friend and teammate Khabib – by claiming that their “arrogance” will be their undoing.
Furthermore, it is not clear whether Nurmagomedov thinks Oliveira will back out through fear or will become injured in the run-in to fight week.
Nurmagomedov’s look into the crystal ball comes a day after fellow Dagestani Makhachev also wrote his own script for what will unfold in the coming weeks.
Using the same social media platform, he tweeted: “First round warm up, second round drag him to deep water, third round get business done.”
“Inshallah. Can’t wait for Oct 22,” the 22-1 prospect added.
Also this week, Dariush claimed that he has already been prepared by the UFC to step in if one of the fighters can’t make it and is more than ready for the challenge while having no problems meeting the weight limit.
“That’s what [my manager] Ali [Abdelaziz] told me, I was the backup for this,” Dariush stated in an MMA Fighting interview.
“If something goes wrong, they would put me in.
“Yeah, of course [I’ll make 155lbs championship weight],” Dariush added.
“It’s not that hard. I make 156. Last time in Texas [at UFC 262], I was pretty much 155 when I fought.”
Though Dariush is currently getting ready for a bout against 21-1 talent Mateusz Gamrot, he also explained how he would adapt to a last-minute change of plans should he get the call for the main event.
“As far as preparing for Islam or Charles, really the way you do that, you be as well-rounded as you can possibly be, in terms of striking, in terms of timing, wrestling, all that stuff, be the best that you can be and then don’t worry about the rest. It’s all going to take care of itself,” Dariush concluded.
While happily retired after honoring a promise to his mother made when father Abdulmanap died, and also unlikely to want to face his charge Makhachev, there also is little to no chance of Nurmagomedov stepping in to save the main event and making the 155lbs cut-off should Oliveira buckle.
“I weigh 205lbs now, maybe 204lbs in the morning if I don’t have dessert the night before,” Nurmagomedov joked at a Human Appeal charity event last week in London.
“When I was an active fighter, I was around 190lbs and I cut weight to 155lbs. I finished my career, I gained about five kilos, but I can’t do anything with this,” he went on.
“It was one of the hardest things in my life to stay away from food, even now,” Nurmagomedov confessed.
“It was hard because for 15 years I was on a diet, maybe more. To make weight, I had to stay on a diet all my life.
“Being a religious person, we have to stay away from a lot of things. When food comes on the table, sometimes you want to enjoy it. I have to train every day for five hours to get back to 86 kilos, or I can live a happy life. I’m going to be happy and drink Pepsi.”
Now overseeing the career of Makhachev and pushing his own Eagle FC promotion, Khabib says he still trains “maybe one hour a day”.