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Morning Report: Daniel Cormier labels Islam Makhachev ‘victim of expectation,’ says he’s not Khabib Nurmagomedov

Islam Makhachev has done pretty well for himself in the UFC lightweight division.

It historically hasn’t been easy to become and maintain the position of champion at 155 pounds. Although he’s only been the ruler of the roost since October 2022, Makhachev has wasted no time entering rarified air as he’s on the cusp of making history with one more title defense added to his resume. A win in his next time out would be a record-fourth consecutive lightweight championship defense.

Makhachev, 32, most recently tied the record held by his mentor and former teammate Khabib Nurmagomedov, and legends B.J. Penn and Benson Henderson, when he defeated Dustin Poirier at UFC 302 last month. The performance was majorly business as usual for the champ, who submitted “The Diamond” via a fifth-round d’arce choke. However, criticism still found its way to Makhachev and his former teammate and former UFC champion Daniel Cormier believes it’s a comparison issue.

“I thought he did good, man,” Cormier told Xtra MMA. “Look, one of the things about Islam is you become a victim of expectation, right? He got a finish, but if he didn’t finish him, he would have won that fight at least four rounds to one. That’s a pretty dominant performance.

“Because he’s been so good for so long, people are like, ‘Oh, well, there were some moments where Dustin had moments,’ so they think that it was something different but Islam fought great.”

The matchup was touted as a possible retirement fight for Poirier, adding plenty of allure ahead of fight night. Poirier didn’t call it quits afterward and looks to try and rebound before all is said and done.

Poirier made for Makhachev’s first title defense against a “traditional” lightweight contender after two previous wins over former featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. In Makhachev’s next fight, he’s expected to rematch an old foe, the surging young top contender Arman Tsarukyan.

Fights like the one with Poirier and the first Volkanovski clash have already been more competitive than anything seen in Khabib Nurmagomedov’s epic title reign before he retired in October 2020. Ultimately, it’s not fair to draw those parallels, says Cormier.

“He showed that he can strike with a very dangerous striker and he was able to get a finish when he needed [to],” Cormier said. “So, I thought he did well. I thought Dustin did well but I think he falls victim to expectation. He’s not Khabib.

“Khabib was just so outwardly dominant that you never saw him struggle. So, people think to expect the same thing from Islam and nobody’s Khabib.”


Dreamer. Nate Diaz wants Jake Paul, Leon Edwards rematches after avenging Jorge Masvidal loss; responds to Conor McGregor

Sour. Jorge Masvidal blames hometown cooking for Nate Diaz loss: ‘Judges were influenced by the crowd’

Future. Andre Arlovski thought he’d be ‘a crying baby’ after UFC 303, plans to keep fighting until 48

Farewell. Michelle Waterson-Gomez reflects on pioneering 17-year MMA career, why she decided to retire

Crossover. Anthony Joshua encourages Alex Pereira to box, Pereira asks for opponent recommendation

Drama. Stipe Miocic insists ‘I’m not holding up any division like everyone says’ with Jon Jones fight

Aftermath.Complete madness’: Pros react to Nate Diaz vs. Jorge Masvidal boxing rematch

Rematch. Dan Ige: ‘It could be fun’ to run it back with Diego Lopes, targeting UFC 306 for return

Grilled. Joe Pyfer rips ‘fake’ fans who doubted him after UFC 303 win: ‘There you go, motherf*ckers!


Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal post-show and post-fight scrums.

UFC Denver promo.

Best of 2024 so far.

UFC 303 Slo-Mo.

UFC Connected.

Full fights.

Best rounds and finishes from PFL’s regular season.

Aspinall.

Volk + Bangtao.

Almighty fight camp.

Mike Brown mini-doc.


Go to Twitter, use the #MorningReport hashtag, or find one of my tweets with it, and drop me a jam you’re currently really into. I’ll pick the best one alongside my daily choice and give you a shoutout! You can also share in the comments below — those are just harder to sift through sometimes!


Back in Thailand.

Comparison.

Always fun.

Beef.

Hood.

Denver thug.

Not done.

Man.

Customs.


Drew Dober (27-13) vs. Jean Silva (13-2); UFC Denver, July 13

Jasmine Jasudavicius (10-3) vs. Fatima Kline (6-0); UFC Denver, July 13

Shamil Gaziev (12-1) vs. Don’Tale Mayes (11-6); UFC Abu Dhabi, Aug. 3

Charalampos Grigoriou (8-4) vs. Toshiomi Kazama (10-4); UFC Vegas 95, Aug. 10

Li Jingliang (19-8) vs. Carlos Prates (19-6); UFC 305, Aug. 17

Andre Lima (9-0) vs. Felipe Dos Santos (8-1); UFC Vegas 97, Sept. 7

Yazmin Jauregui (11-1) vs. Ketlen Souza (14-4); Noche UFC, Sept. 14

Édgar Cháirez (11-5) vs. Kevin Borjas (9-3); Noche UFC, Sept. 14

Ronaldo Rodriguez (16-2) vs. Ode’ Osbourne (12-7); Noche UFC, Sept. 14

Germaine de Randamie (10-5) vs. Nora Cornolle (8-1); UFC Paris, Sept. 28

Renato Moicano (19-5-1) vs. Benoît Saint Denis (13-2); UFC Paris, Sept. 28


I know the comparisons were always and have always been there, but I don’t feel like people call Khabib and Islam the same that much.

Thanks for reading!


Last Week’s Results:

Wednesday: 60% of 437 total votes answered “Muhammad Mokaev” when asked, “Who has a better chance of defeating Alexandre Pantoja?

Tuesday: 73% of 354 total votes answered “Jorge Masvidal” when asked, “Who wins this weekend?” Nate Diaz defeated Masvidal via majority decision in their boxing match on July 6.

Monday: 56% of 365 total votes answered “Ian Machado Garry” when asked, “Which matchup interests you more for Colby Covington?

Today’s exit poll:

Poll

Who did you think won the Nate Diaz vs. Jorge Masvidal boxing rematch?


If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @DrakeRiggs_ on Twitter and let him know about it. Also, follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.

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