Daniel Cormier recently told MMA Junkie that he was done paying attention to critics who accused him of bias in his commentary. After all, as he put it, it’s a “very, very difficult” job and—at the end of the day—that kind of feedback “does not matter” as long as he’s putting in the work to do that job to the best of his ability.
That doesn’t change the reality, however, that beyond his position inside the booth for UFC events, the former two-division champion is also an active part of one of the world’s premiere, high-level MMA camps: the American Kick Boxing Academy. Even if he doesn’t feel like he’s bringing a bias with him into his commentary work, he’s got no shortage of superlatives when it comes to talking about his teammates.
“He’s the best fighter in the world at that weight class,” Cormier said in an interview with MMA Fighting, speaking of lightweight top contender Islam Makhachev. “His abilities are just second to none.”
“Let me tell you something, this Islam Makhachev is crazy,” Cormier added. “I tell him [in the gym], ‘Hey, my guy took you down in practice,’ and he goes, ‘Brother, bring [Olympic gold medalist] Jordan Burroughs [to face me], this will be a good match.’ He’s so sure of his wrestling. I love Islam.”
Current rumors suggest that Makhachev will face Beneil Dariush this fall, in a bout that could secure his status as a future title challenger. The two men were originally slated to fight back in February, but an injury to Dariush forced a late notice replacement—with Makhachev facing Bobby Green instead. The Dagestani talent won that fight via first round TKO.
While he was stripped of the belt back in May for failing to make weight, for the moment the UFC has seemed fairly set on keeping Charles Oliveira at the center of their lightweight title picture. The Chute Boxe talent has been actively campaigning for a bout against former double-champ Conor McGregor. McGregor hasn’t competed since breaking his leg in a loss to Dustin Poirier back at UFC 264 in July of last year, although he’s expected to return to competition sometime in 2022.
Makhachev very well may be the future champion of the lightweight division. But it seems like it’s going to take a little more time before he gets his chance to prove it. In the meantime, he’ll have at least one very prominent, vocal supporter.
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