‘Eagle is landed’: Khabib Nurmagomedov returns to corner Islam Makhachev at UFC 302

After a two-fight absence, Hall of Famer Khabib Nurmagomedov will return to Islam Makhachev’s corner at UFC 302 against Dustin Poirier.

In the headliner of the pay-per-view event, Makhachev (25-1 MMA, 14-1 UFC) will look to defend his lightweight title against former interim titleholder Poirier (30-8 MMA, 22-7 UFC) at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. (ESPN+ PPV).

Makhachev is excited to have his close friend back in his corner after Nurmagomedov was absent for consecutive victories over former featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski.

“Eagle is landed in Jersey City,” Makhachev said in a video on the UFC’s Instagram page. “He’s going to be in my corner. Honestly, I’m very happy because he’s one of the best corner, coach, brother, friend.”

Nurmagomedov was last present in Makhachev’s corner for the vacant lightweight title fight against Charles Oliveira at UFC 280. Makhachev submitted Oliveira in Round 2 to become the new undisputed champion.

“The Eagle” was absent from Makhachev’s first and second title defenses against Volkanovski as he stepped away from the sport completely to be with his family. Even without Nurmagomedov physically present, Makhachev said he still felt Nurmagomedov’s influence as he helped from afar. Makhachev would defeat Volkanovski by unanimous decision in their first meeting and then land a vicious head kick for a first-round knockout in the rematch.

Friends since childhood, Makhachev and Nurmagomedov have been tightly linked throughout their MMA careers as training partners. After retiring from competition, Nurmagomedov became a coach and mentor. Now, for his third lightweight title bout, Makhachev will have his top cornerman at his side to take on Poirier.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie