Islam Makhachev is surely the first fighter to ever prepare for a UFC title match by training in Nepal. He recently shared a photo of himself as Everest Base Camp and wrote, in Russian, that he wanted to spend some time at high elevation.

His opponent, Alex Volkanovski, is also training in Asia. But he has set up a more conventional camp and is based at Bang Tao Muay Thai in Phuket.

The two men meet at UFC 284 in Perth. The city sits at sea level making Makhachev‘s decision to spend time in Nepal a surprising one:


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A post shared by Islam_Makhachev (@islam_makhachev)

Not ideal

The caption alongside his Instagram post translates as,

Need to stock up on oxygen for five rounds.

Training at altitude is a tactic numerous fighters have employed in the past. But Makhachev seems to have taken things to a whole different level by heading to the base of the world’s tallest mountain.

Presumably he isn’t actually planning to scale Mount Everest as his fight with Volkanovski is just over a month away. There aren’t any MMA training facilities at the base camp so it doesn’t seem like the ideal location for the final stages of a fight camp.


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A post shared by Islam_Makhachev (@islam_makhachev)

No compensation

You would think the advantages of being at high altitude would be massively outweighed by the disadvantages of having no access to training facilities and sleeping in a tent. Even getting to Everest Base Camp is not straightforward with visitors required to apply for a permit.

Either this is an old photo and Makhachev is pulling a prank, or he has taken a break from his training camp for a quick holiday in Nepal, or he really had decided that camping out in the snow is the best way to prepare for his upcoming title defence. Or perhaps the photo was not taken at Everest Base Camp in the first place, this Instagram post certainly raises a lot of questions.

But with Khabib Nurmagomedov in his corner it seems unlikely that Makhachev would be allowed to leave anything to chance. Wherever the Russian is training he is sure to be in peak condition when he steps into the octagon on February 12th.