Khabib Nurmagomedov claims Dan Hooker can only beat Islam Makhachev with a 'lucky punch'

Khabib Nurmagomedov believes Dan Hooker's only chance of beating his protégé Islam Makhachev is with a 'lucky' sucker-punch.

Khabib Nurmagomedov believes Dan Hooker's only chance of beating his protégé Islam Makhachev is with a 'lucky' sucker-punch. 

Former UFC lightweight champion Nurmagomedov expects Makhachev will be too much for Hooker - and the UFC 267 main card bout stopped.  

But he accepts it is going to be a 'very big challenge' for Makhachev after watching the New Zealander put in one of the most impressive performances of his career in his last outing against Nasrat Haqparast.  

Nurmagomedov - who trains with Makhachev at American Kickboxing Academy in California - revealed: “Islam vs. Dan Hooker is gonna be a very big challenge for Islam.

“It’s gonna be a good challenge. He’s No. 6 in the rankings, but I think Hooker never fought someone like Islam.

"All his fights have been against striker. I don’t know what he’s going to do with Islam’s wrestling, pressure, dominance on the ground, how he’s gonna stop him.

"Only one thing he has is a lucky punch. Without this, 99 percent Islam mauls him.”

Islam Makhachev will face Dan Hooker at UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi

Earlier this year, UFC president Dana White met with Nurmagomedov in a failed attempt to persuade him to come out of retirement.

But Nurmagomedov, 33, claims he 'does not think anything' could tempt him back to the UFC after revealing he had agreed with his mother to retire following the death of his father Abdulmanap.

The Dagestani wrestler, who boasts a record of 29 wins and no defeats, said to BBC Sport in London: "It was very tough. it was a tough time in my life because I just lost my father in July and fought in October.

"When my father died, my mother and I made the decision that it was going to be the last fight. I fought for a legacy and only came into sport to make history and to give motivation to the younger generations.

"If you are from the mountain, are from a poor part of the world, if you have a dream you can do whatever you want. I defended my title twice with my father but I wondered why I need to follow this path without my father?

"One day everything will come to an end anyway and it was a perfect time to finish. I think this was the right decision to retire, even after a year it was a good decision."

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The ultimate Khabib Nurmagomedov quiz: Where was he born?

Nurmagomedov, 33, has known Makhachev since early childhood and started wrestling at the age of eight under the tutelage of his father Abdulmanap.  

And Nurmagomedov believes his father 'sacrificed his life to invest in me and my brothers' - and shared an insight into a typical day in the life for both fighters growing up together in the mountain regions of Dagestan.    

He said: "All my life, my father never had a business. I don't know how he made money; all his life he spent investing in people.

"I remember when we were kids, he took me, my brother and cousins from the village and moved to the city. There were not too many opportunities and we lived in one house for 10 years. Some went to school but we trained together morning and night.

"It was like an army life. All day he tried to teach us good manners, push us in education, push us in the gym and he sacrificed his life to invest in me and my brothers. From this house there have been seven world UFC champions and all these guys have helped a lot of people."

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