Nurmagomedov hoping to follow in cousin Khabib’s footsteps

Usman Nurmagomedov, like his cousin Khabib, is undefeated in skilled MMA
Venue: Mohegan Sun Arena, Connecticut, USA Date: Friday 2 April
Coverage: Watch dwell protection on BBC iPlayer from 23:00 BST & weigh-in from 16:00 BST on Thursday 1 April

Usman Nurmagomedov says he needs to “follow in the footsteps” of his cousin Khabib earlier than his Bellator debut on Friday.

The Russian, who has gained all 11 of his skilled MMA fights, faces Mike Hamel in a light-weight bout at Bellator 255, which can be broadcast dwell on BBC iPlayer.

Khabib is thought to be one of many biggest MMA fighters of all time after retiring from the sport last year with an ideal 29-0 report.

“It’s very motivational for me to fight under the Nurmagomedov name,” Usman instructed BBC Sport.

“I want to follow in Khabib’s footsteps, follow his journey and eventually become a better version of him.”

Usman signed with US-based MMA promoter Bellator in October after a powerful begin to his profession.

The 22-year-old has completed 10 of his 11 skilled fights by submission or knockout, with seven of them coming in the primary spherical.

Khabib nurmagomedov and usman nurmagomedov
Usman with Khabib after a coaching session over six years in the past

He recurrently trains with former UFC light-weight champion Khabib and says the expertise is the right preparation for his fights, each bodily and mentally.

“I spend my entire training camp with Khabib,” mentioned Usman.

“It’s very hard work to compete and train with him. So after training camp has finished, it feels very easy to train and fight with other people.

“I be taught all the things from Khabib. Whenever I need to know or be taught one thing, Khabib is there.”

’15 fights in someday’

Khabib has said that a key reason in his decision to retire was to honour the memory of his father and coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, who died in July following complications arising from Covid-19.

Usman, who was also trained by Abdulmanap, paid tribute to his uncle.

“He taught me all the things, not solely as a fighter, however as an individual too,” mentioned Usman.

“He taught me how to discuss to individuals, how to deal with individuals, he taught me all the things.

“I’m missing him a lot.”

Usman began wrestling on the age of eight earlier than being launched to MMA at 11 years previous.

When he was 18, Usman remembers a time when Abdulmanap took him to compete in a fight sambo event, the place he ended up preventing a exceptional 15 occasions in someday.

Combat sambo is a type of martial arts standard in Russia.

“I thought I was fighting in one weight division at 62kg,” mentioned Usman.

“Then Abdulmanap came to me and said that I would be fighting in three different weight divisions that day. I said, ‘OK, no problem.’

“I saved profitable, so after each quarter-hour, I might get one other battle after which one other.”

Usman says that if Abdulmanap was here today, he would be helping him research his opponent on Friday.

“He could be with me proper now and the very first thing he would do is watch fights of my opponent after which make choices about how to proceed.

“One thing for sure he would tell me is after a win, to stay calm and not get emotional.”

Aside from Khabib, Usman has a lot of family members who’re skilled MMA fighters, together with Umar Nurmagomedov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov.

Usman says it is the drive to compete which attracts his household and different Dagestani fighters to MMA.

“Of course we have a choice – I have cousins who are doctors and dentists – but I chose to be a fighter because I love the competition,” mentioned Usman.

“The hunger and the feeling to be competitive is in our blood and it’s been passed on generation by generation.”

Bellator 255 is the primary occasion to be proven as a part of the BBC’s broadcast deal to solely present Bellator MMA dwell in the UK all through 2021.

Usman’s battle towards American Hamel on Friday is second on the primary card.

The foremost occasion is a showdown between Patricio Freire and Emmanuel Sanchez for the Bellator featherweight title.

You can watch the occasion dwell on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport web site from 23.00 BST.

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