KEY POINTS

  • Islam Makhachev has gone undefeated in the UFC since 2016
  • Makhachev has long been touted as Khabib Nurmagomedov's successor
  • Dan Hooker thinks beating the Russian fighter will feel like beating Nurmagomedov

A UFC lightweight rising star is presenting a strong case to become one of the biggest names in the sport of mixed martial arts.

Islam Makhachev has been drawing attention in the UFC, having gone undefeated since 2016.

Apart from his impressive record in the promotion, much of the hype around his name was because of his compatriot and former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

People in his circle have viewed him as Nurmagomedov’s successor. In fact, his manager Ali Abdelaziz  already sees him as a fighter who could be “better” than unbeaten UFC legend himself.

“I think he’s going to be one of the greatest fighters ever,” Abdelaziz recently told TMZ Sports of Makhachev. “I think he’s a better version of Khabib [Nurmagomedov]. I truly believe he is. He’s not now, but he can be.”

Abdelaziz went on to rave about Makhachev’s potential to become a UFC champion as well, adding, “and I think he’s a future world champion, for sure. ”

Aside from Abdelaziz, former UFC “champ-champ” Daniel Cormier also has a similar take on Makhachev.

According to “DC,” the 30-year-old’s rise in the UFC was a bit slow during Nurmagomedov’s time.

Now that “The Eagle” is gone, Cormier belives that Makhachev will definitely flourish.

“Khabib and I talked about it, everybody believes that Islam can be the man,” Cormier told ESPN in March. “Now, with Khabib [retired], I believe now [Islam] starts to make his ascent."

Nurmagodemove, on the other hand, is already certain that Makhachev will indeed reign supreme in the division he once dominated.

"I don't think anyone can beat [Makhachev] right now,” the retired UFC fighter claimed. “He will run [the division]. I really believe his era is on the way.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov Could boxing be next for Khabib Nurmagomedov? In this picture, Nurmagomedov of Russia carries his champions belt as he is escorted by fans upon his arrival in Makhachkala, Oct. 8, 2018. Photo: VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images

As it stands, Makhachev is enjoying an impressive eight-fight winning streak under the UFC banner.

His most notable wins were the submission victories over Drew Dober and Thiago Moises.

On October 30, Makhachev will be looking to extend his incredible stint with a win over UFC veteran Dan “The Hangman” Hooker.

Sharing his thoughts ahead of their much-awaited lightweight bout, Hooker admitted that he is convinced that beating Makhachev would also feel like beating Nurmagodemov.

“I want to see how I measure up with him. It’s no lie that Islam’s the next best thing,” Hooker told MMA Fighting. "Beating Islam is the only opportunity you’re going to get to show what would have happened if you got in there with Khabib when he was champion."