Only Nurmagomedov And Sparring Partners Training At AKA
Given the current situation worldwide, most mixed martial arts gyms have temporarily shut down throughout the United States. One of the few exceptions is American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) where only Khabib Nurmagomedov is allowed to train.
The gym is closed indefinitely 22 hours a day. The other two hours are dedicated to Nurmagomedov and his team of sparring partners.
“Just Khabib,” AKA head coach Javier Mendez told ESPN. “That’s it. Nobody else is allowed. No one is coming. Just Khabib. … We’ve gotta keep it safe for him.”
Nurmagomedov is set to defend his lightweight title against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 on April 18. Although the UFC have canceled its upcoming three events, Dana White has remained adamant that Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson — originally set to take place in Brooklyn — will still happen.
That’s the mindset of Nurmagomedov as well.
“His attitude is the fight is happening,” Mendez said. “His sparring was fantastic on Monday, trust me. He’s training like the fight is gonna happen and I’m teaching him like the fight is gonna happen and telling him the fight is gonna happen.”
That will remain the case even if by some cruel fate, Nurmagomedov ends up fighting next month but not against Ferguson.
“Khabib expects to fight somebody if something happens to Tony,” Mendez added. “He expects to fight somebody. One top guy. Whatever. And then he’ll go back after Tony. That’s the way he looks at it. He’s expecting to fight.
“It’s not like, ‘Tony is out; forget it I’m not fighting.’ He’s training to fight somebody. It’s not like he has it in for Tony. He doesn’t have it in for Tony. [Ferguson is] a top guy. He’s the very best right now that he could face. So that’s why [Khabib] wants to face him.”
Hopefully, White is able to pull some strings and make this dream fight finally come to fruition.