Usman Numagomedov clearly understands the importance of his last name.
The cousin of retired UFC legend Khabib Nurmagomedov — who now serves as Usman’s head coach — and nephew to the late Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, the 24-year-old lightweight comes from a lineage known for creating champions. Unfortunately, Abdulmanap died in 2020,. However Usman will fulfill the promise that his uncle made in him by taking on Patricky Pitbull at Bellator 288 Friday.
“For me [this fight], it’s all the hopes and dreams my uncle has put into me,” Usman told MMA Fighting. I don’t want him to be disappointed. I want to take this belt, inshallah, and it put in our school of Abdulmanap.”
While Abdulmanap has passed, Usman is happy to have Khabib as his trainer. This continues the family’s tradition.
Usman believes that his father taught him a lot because the two of them are nearly identical in the gym.
“Khabib represents his father’s coaching style,” Usman stated. “There’s some little things that are missing from his dad but he pushes us very hard for training. He mentally helps us. He energizes us. But I think that Khabib is a copy of his father as a coach.”
In addition to having Khabib as a coach, Usman Nurmagomedov also counts new UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev as one of his main training partners on a daily basis.
The two fighters were constantly sparring leading up to Makhachev’s win over Charles Oliveira at UFC 280 and that training was invaluable as Nurmagomedov prepared for his own title fight.
Those intense training sessions give Nurmagomedov all the confidence in the world to know that everything “Pitbull” can do, Makhachev absolutely does better.
” Having Islam as our sparring partner, there was sparring in Dubai. We also have camps together with Islam. Islam is very good,” Nurmagomedov said. “He took me to the waters that I haven’t been to before. I feel like Pitbull can’t match that.
” Pitbull’s only option is to try and drop me with an injury, but I doubt he will wrestle me through all five rounds. He won’t come to me to fight .”
After working for Makhachev so many weeks, Nurmagomedov was happy to watch his friend become the UFC champion.
That also served as additional inspiration for Nurmagomedov as he seeks to do the same thing when he competes Friday night.
” “Honestly, I was so happy to see him win that title,” Nurmagomedov stated about Makhachev. “I was very joyful. This was the realization of all our uncle’s plans. I had feelings of happiness and I had feelings that I’m supposed to be the next guy to make our team happy.
“But Islam deserves this title for quite some time. He just had a lot of people running from him but now all the focus is on him as a champion and he will fight any contender. Because he has never seen that .”
, he will fight any opponent.
If all goes according to plan, Nurmagomedov would win the Bellator title. His team will also have two of the most sought-after championships in the lightweight division. Many believe Khabib could be in line as a potential coach of the year candidate for all the success he’s had since transitioning to that role after retiring from his own fight career.
His cousin won’t disagree with any accolades heaped upon his team but Usman is also humble enough to allow others to make that distinction for him. That’s why Usman won’t make any bold claims when asked what it would mean for his team to potentially boast the two best lightweights in MMA.
“This is question is not for us,” Usman responded. This question is for YOU. You tell us. Tell .”