He’s the reigning UFC Lightweight Champion, with an incredible record of 28 wins and no defeats, and he’s currently gearing up to take on Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in a unification bout. The next Khabib fight odds are very much in his favour, despite the fact he last fought in September 2019. His opponent is the lightweight division’s current interim champion, Gaethje. The American had previously been drafted in at short notice to face Tony Ferguson in May, after the travel restrictions enforced by the coronavirus pandemic meant that Khabib himself had to stay in his native Russia.
But it appears that MMA is in the blood of the Nurmagomedov family – as it has been revealed that Khabib’s late father, Abdulmanap, who sadly contracted covid-19 earlier this year, and later died in hospital, trained his cousins too. It comes as no real surprise when you consider that the family hail from Dagestan, dubbed ‘the most dangerous place in Europe’.
Khabib’s cousin Usman appears the most likely to follow in his footsteps, having recently signed a deal with Bellator. He too, will fight in the lightweight division, and already boasts a professional record of 11 wins from 11 fights. Usman’s contract will run on a multi-year, multi-fight basis, and the Russian currently trains alongside his cousin at the American Kickboxing Academy in California. And interestingly, Khabib’s manager Ali Abdelaziz revealed that he believes that Usman is a better fighter than Khabib. The 24-year-old is a Muay Thai specialist.
Of the signing, Bellator President Scott Coker said: “I am thrilled to have Usman join the promotion and he will be placed in an immediate position to showcase his skills and contend at 155-pounds. We hope to have him in action inside the Bellator cage by December or January.”
Featuring on the fight card at UFC 254 is Khabib’s younger cousin Umar. He has been named on the early preliminary card and will be taking on Sergey Morozov at bantamweight level. And, like both Khabib and Usman, the 24-year-old remains undefeated so far in his career, holding a record of 12-0. He last fought in November 2019, with his last two bouts since then, cancelled. He is said to have a growing reputation, and previously fought in the Pro Fighting League (formerly the World Series of Fighting) amongst other organisations.
And finally, there’s Abubakar. The eldest of the cousins, at 30 years of age, the Russian competes in the welterweight division of the UFC. While his record isn’t as pristine as the rest of his family – 15 wins from 19 fights, with 3 losses – he made a name for himself back in 2018. It was at UFC 229 when Khabib took on Conor McGregor, and defeated the Irishman by submission, that a post-fight brawl took place.
Khabib stepped out of the Octagon and charged towards McGregor’s cornerman, Dillon Danis. After the situation descended into chaos, Abubakar attacked McGregor, with the cousins citing racist and insensitive comments about their family the reason for their actions. Abubakar received a one-year ban for his part in the fracas – and while he became eligible to fight again just six months later, he lost his promotional debut at Fight Night on 9th November 2019. The Russian was defeated via submission, by David Zawada.
While, it could be argued that Khabib is coming to the autumn of his career, it’s clear to see that the Nurmagomedov name could well live on in the sport.