Undisputed lightweight champion, Islam Makhachev is likely to call time on his illustrious mixed martial arts career before the end of next year according to analyst and former title chaser, Chael Sonnen, who argues the current titleholder has cleared out the lightweight ranks more so than his training partner and coach, Khabib Nurmagomedov did.
Makhachev, the current undisputed lightweight champion and pound-for-pound number one ranked fighter under the banner of the promotion, made his return to the Octagon at UFC 294 back in October.
Taking on featherweight titleholder counterpart, Alexander Volkanovski in a short-notice title rematch, Makhachev landed a spectacular first round finish over the Australian, stopping his two-time foe with a flush – high-kick KO win in a surefire Knockout of the Year contender.
And offering to compete for the promotion before Ramadan in a hasty return to the Octagon in March, lightweight kingpin, Makhachev has been linked with a championship defense against current symbolic BMF titleholder, Justin Gaethje next.
Islam Makhachev backed to retire by end of 2025
According to former middleweight and light heavyweight title challenger, Sonnen, however, fans of Makhachev should make sure to get their viewing on the Russian in before the end of next year – tipping the Russian to end his tenure in the sport by the conclusion of 2025.
“Islam Makhachev, you want him to keep fighting?” Chael Sonnen said on his YouTube channel. “Do you want him to go out like Khabib (Nurmagomedov). There is very good evidence that Islam has cleaned out 155 pounds more than Khabib… As you look at Islam saying, ‘I would like to go to 170 pounds.’ If [the UFC] wanted to get Khabib to consider [returning], they needed to make it 170 pounds or a catchweight, and they needed to make it an opponent he was yet to face.”
“…They’re [the UFC] gonna find out a lot sooner than they’d have to that Islam is done… If he keesp his three fights in 2024, you are not gonna se him in 2025, that I do know… You’re giving him matches he doesn’t want to have… If you want to keep him and elongate his career, you’re gonna have to start looking at either catchweight or 170 [pounds]. Islam Makhachev will not weight 155 pounds more than three times again in his life.” (H/T MMA News)
Do you think Islam Makhachev is on the brink of retirement?