Has Islam Makhachev ever been arrested for doping? Check out his 2016 scare and other cool facts about him ahead of UFC 280.
UFC 280 Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev is shaping up to be the PPV of the year. The two top-ranked fighters are on their way to a collision course that will frame the UFC lightweight division. So, we thought we should look at some interesting facts about the fighters and for this one we are looking at Islam Makhachev. Let’s argue:
Islam Makhachev: Dagestan sports legend in the making
1) A classic sports champion Origins
Islam Rozanovich Makhachev was born in Makhachkala and grew up in a remote village in Dagestan called Burshi. Makhachkala has a very vibrant combat sports culture, with Combat Sambo being the most popular.
The village of Burshi is really impoverished and Makhachev was bullied in his early childhood because the village children thought the city children were weak. His father, a modest farmer from Burshi, introduced him to combat sports at an early age, and Makhachev expressed a desire to be world champion.
Apparently, the village children also made fun of him for his ambition. But as they say, pressure makes diamonds.
2) Join Khabib Nurmagomedov’s father’s gym
Makhachev moved to Makhachkala at an early age for education. He was keen on combat sports and his aptitude for it ended up at a famous gymnasium run by Khabib Nurmagomedov’s late father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov.
He was also friends with ‘The Eagle’ cousin Abubakar Nurmagomedov, so the move to the famed gymnasium was a no-brainer. Training in the gym exposed him to the best pedigree of future Dagestan fighter leaders.
In particular, he benefited from learning under Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov who made several prophetic statements about Makhachev’s future in combat sports.
He said he was destined to be a world champion and was the only fighter in the gym of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s caliber. In fact, the story goes that “The Eagle” only lost fights to Makhachev and no one else ever came close.
3) Pre-MMA training and career
Islam Makhachev trained in a world of martial arts styles including wushu, judo, wrestling and others. He put his skills to the test in Combat Sambo tournaments and also won many accolades.
These include wins at the Federal International Championships, the Russian Federal Combat Sambo Championship, and the All-Time Russian National Championship. He holds the rank of International Master of Sport in Combat Sambo.
In fact, Makhachev continued to compete in Sambo even after making his MMA debut in 2010 for six years. He competed in his last Sambo match in 2016 before fully transitioning into MMA.
During his time competing in MMA before entering the UFC, Makhachev earned an undefeated record of 11 wins, all of which came to him via unanimous decision.
4) Makhachev’s only loss in the UFC
So far, Makhachev has had a nearly flawless run to the UFC lightweight fight. His only loss came from Adriano Martins, an accomplished Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. However, Martins did not win a fight after his victory over Makhachev and left the UFC after two losses following Makhachev’s victory.
That said, Charles Oliveira is an all-time submission record holder and that could be the chink in Makhachev’s armor. Although his loss to Martins came by TKO, it was still Martins’ ability to shrug off Makhachev’s takedowns that made the difference. Food for thought for anyone looking forward to UFC 280.
5) A fear of the anti-doping flag
Islam Makhachev tested positive for a banned substance called Meldonium after the Martins fight. Many Russian regional sports athletes have tested positive for this substance. He was banned in 2016 just as Makhachev was moving on to his next fight against Martins.
According to Makhachev, he took Meldonium at the end of 2015 for 4 weeks to deal with a heart problem. This was before the substance was banned and doping agencies cleared him to compete after extensive investigation.
6) The many interests of Makhachev
Besides his interests in MMA and combat sports, Makhachev enjoys motocross and equestrian hobbies. He is also an avid gamer although he only plays one game – PUBG.
Other than that, Makhachev has made many charitable donations, especially to Burshi. He also donates to children’s hospitals in the Middle East, including Dubai.
Are you excited about the fight weekend? Check out more details on the UFC 280 headliner between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev.