Khabib Nurmagomedov Looks Back on His UFC Title Fight with Dustin Poirier Fondly: ‘It Was a Very Fun Fight Week’

'The Eagle' looks back on the first time his father cornered him for a UFC fight

Khabib Nurmagomedov
Courtesy of @UFCNews on X

Khabib Nurmagomedov looks back on his fight with Dustin Poirier as one of the best moments of his career. But it wasn’t because of his spectacular performance or retaining his lightweight title for the second time.

During a recent Q&A with Class A Events in Surrey, British Columbia, ‘The Eagle’ looked back on his illustrious mixed martial arts career, sharing memories of his journey to 29-0 alongside his father and coach, the late Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov.

Reminiscing about his third-round submission finish of ‘The Diamond’ at UFC 242, the former 155-pound king remembers it being an especially noteworthy moment as it was the first time his father was in his corner for a UFC fight. 

“Dustin Poirier was the first [fight] when my father was cornering me in the UFC because, before that, he never had a visa,” Nurmagomedov said. “It was a very fun fight week. It was emotional and there was good energy. On fight night when I beat him, it was one of the best of my professional career because I remember how [my father] was nervous and how I talked with him before the fight and after the fight. Even right before our fight when Bruce Buffer was introducing us, I saw his face and he was very nervous. I told my father, ‘Relax. Calm down.'”

Sadly, his father would not be there for his final defense against Justin Gaethje a year later. Abdulmanap passed away in July 2020 after battling bilateral pneumonia caused by COVID-19. He was 57 years old.

“Emotionally, it was a very hard fight [against Justin Gaethje],” Nurmagomedov said. “I had a very tough opponent and it was not easy to deal with everything, but Alhamdulillah. Like father told me long ago, all diamonds are made under very high pressure. If pressure is gonna come and it don’t break you, you will be a diamond. 

Khabib Nurmagomedov Still Shares His Knowledge with the Next Generation of Dagestani Talent

Though he laid down his gloves and his gold following a victory over Gaethje, ‘The Eagle’ was far from done with MMA. He would go on to coach the next generation of Dagestani superstars, including reigning UFC lightweight world champion Islam Makhachev

Nurmagomedov no longer corners fighters, as his father did for him, but that doesn’t mean that he has walked away from his role as a mentor. 

“It’s not like I’m retired from coaching,” Nurmagomedov said.  “Sometimes I go to the gym, share my experience, with all of my brothers. It’s not about ‘I’m retiring from coaching’, but with cornering, fight week, everything…I’m done. I’m still sharing my knowledge and experience…

“This is one of the most important things in my life right now before I become 40 because I still have things to share with them. Grappling, wrestling, some mental things. I still coach my brothers.”

Watch the full interview below:

Published on March 4, 2024 at 9:02 pm
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