Islam Makhachev’s Insane Wrist Workout Shows Why He And Khabib Nurmagomedov Were UFC Champions

There's no way my wrists would survive this...

Islam Makhachev’s Insane Wrist Workout Shows Why He And Khabib Nurmagomedov Were UFC Champions

UFC champions Khabib Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev dominated their opponents on the mat with ridiculous ground control, thanks to an unorthodox Russian wrist workout.


Throughout his MMA career, Khabib was known for his exceptional grappling skills. The Eagle wasted no time in taking his opponents to the ground, averaging 5.32 takedowns completed per 15 minutes. Once Khabib got his foe on his back, it was a sure death as Nurmagomedov possessed supreme grappling technique.

The key to Khabib’s grappling was the strength of his hands and grip. He utilised powerful wrist control to immobilise his opponents and dominate them on the mat. By logging significant control time on the ground, Khabib wore down his foes both mentally and physically. That often set them up for the Dagestani’s ground-and-pound or submission game. 

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Khabib never revealed the secret to his vice-like grip strength but a recent YouTube video featuring Nurmagomedov’s prized pupil Islam Makhachev doing a Russian wrist-strengthening exercise seemed to have shown why Khabib and at least Islam had an insane wrist control game in the UFC.

The Eagle went unbeaten in 29 MMA fights with 8 knockouts and 11 submission wins. His most famous win came at UFC 229 against Conor McGregor in the biggest PPV event in UFC history. In that bout, Khabib held McGregor down for 12 minutes and 15 seconds while taking him down thrice in the bout. 

Khabib holds the UFC record with 21 takedowns landed in a single fight, doing so against Abel Trujillo at UFC 160. He also ranks 3rd all-time in total control time in the UFC’s lightweight division (1:29:08) and 5th overall in the highest percentage of control time (54.6%).

Nurmagomedov retired after defeating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in October 2020 but after he left, he dedicated his time to helping fellow Dagestani Makhachev rise in the rankings. Makhachev won the UFC lightweight title by defeating Charles Oliveira at UFC 280 in October 2022. Islam has since successfully defended the belt twice.

Aside from Makhachev, Khabib also trains many Dagestani fighters via the Nurmagomedov MMA School including Usman Nurmagomedov ( Bellator lightweight champion). In 2022, ESPN revealed that members of Team Khabib had an overall record of 142-11-12.

It’s interesting to see what that record is now. But there’s no question that Team Khabib is one of the most dominant MMA teams today. Now we know the main reason why.