Khabib Nurmagomedov Will Hold Next Training Camp Outside The US
Khabib Nurmagomedov is set to defend his UFC lightweight title against Justin Gaethje this upcoming October at UFC 254. ‘The Eagle’ has been one of the most dominant fighters in UFC history and currently stands undefeated with only one round scored against him inside the Octagon.
Without question, one of the most essential pillars in Khabib’s success has been his head coach, Javier Mendez. Since training in San Jose at AKA, the Dagestani has successfully earned and defended his belt against top-level competition in Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, and Al Iaquinta.
Recently, Mendez revealed to ESPN that as a result of his COVID-19 concerns, the champion does not plan on traveling to California for his next camp, as has been doing for the past eight years.
“We’ve got two choices [for the fight], right? Las Vegas or Fight Island [on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi],'” Mendez said. “I’m thinking Fight Island, but they haven’t said it yet. What I do know is that [COVID-19] is too high in California, and Khabib is not comfortable coming here to train.”
Khabib Is Still Missing His Father
Although Mendez’s influence on Khabib is undeniable, the absence of his father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, is certainly a potential cause for concern. The AKA head coach detailed ‘The Eagle’s’ current state, stating that the champion has not fully recovered from his recent loss.
Abdulmanap recently passed away due to heart complications after contracting the COVID-19 virus. Given his impact on several Dagestani combat athletes and the MMA community in general, he will certainly be one of the MMA’s most remembered figures for his contributions to the sport.
“I did speak to him for the first time two weeks ago, and he’s still going through missing his father,” Mendez said. “Rightfully so. The way they were connected, his father was pretty much his everything. Having his father’s blessing gave him that power to go out and do what he needed to do. Everything his father wanted him to do, Khabib would go out and accomplish it. Now, he doesn’t have that. So, he’s gotta focus on the legacy his father wanted for him.”
Many individuals in Khabib’s circle — such as manager Ali Abdelaziz — detailed ‘The Eagle’s’ plan to retire as an undefeated champion after a successful defence against Gaethje and a super fight against Georges St-Pierre.
Mendez also confirmed that this plan was discussed on various occasions between Khabib and Abdulmanap. The head coach remains certain that two more wins before retirement is the most likely path for the champion.
“It was discussed on numerous occasions — 30-0,” Mendez said. “And GSP was definitely the legacy fight. If they can complete that, I could see 30-0 and he’s done. I can definitely see that. That conversation was brought up numerous times while I was with them.”
Do you think Khabib Nurmagomedov will retire undefeated as his father Abdulmanap had planned?