On Oct. 24, UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov will defend his title against interim champion Justin Gaethje in a yet-to-be-determined location. And unlike his usual camps, this time, Khabib will not make the trip to California to train at American Kickboxing Academy. Nurmagomedov has held all his fight camps at AKA since 2012, but due to California’s continuing struggles with COVID-19, instead of Khabib going there, head coach Javier Mendez will go to Dagestan to prepare Khabib for his third title defense.
“We’ve got two choices [for the fight], right? Las Vegas or Fight Island,’” Mendez told ESPN. “I’m thinking Fight Island, but they haven’t said it yet. What I do know is that [COVID-19] is too high in California, and Khabib is not comfortable coming here to train. So I’m gonna go to Dagestan to train him and we’ll go from there. . . Where the fight is gonna be, 100 percent, I don’t know but I know this, I’m going to him. That I do know. I’m going to train him in Dagestan or wherever he chooses to go, but we’re not training in San Jose.”
It will be the first fight for Nurmagomedov since the passing of his father Abdulmanap last month due to complications from coronavirus. Khabib and his father were extremely close and his father’s passing had some speculate about Khabib’s future in MMA, when he would fight again and even if he would fight again. That speculation proved to be unfounded though as, according to Mendez, Khabib is dealing with his mourning through hard work and fulfilling his father’s wishes for him.
“I did speak to him for the first time about two weeks ago, and he’s still going through missing his father,” Mendez said. “Rightfully so. The way they were connected, his father was pretty much his everything. Having his father’s blessing gave him that power to go out and do what he needed to do. Everything his father wanted him to do, Khabib would go out and accomplish it. Now, he doesn’t have that. So, he’s gotta focus on the legacy his father wanted for him and live through that. Do something great for the legacy of your father.”
Khabib and his father’s legacy has been the topic of much conversation lately as Khabib’s manager Ali Abdelaziz hinted at that Khabib will only fight twice more, per his father’s wishes. UFC President Dana White suggested that Khabib’s long-desired fight with Georges St-Pierre could be a good final fight for the lightweight champion. And though Mendez has not spoken with him about a possible retirement, he confirmed that Adbulmanap always wanted his son to exit the sport at 30-0, and he could see that scenario being a fitting end to Khabib’s career.
“It was discussed on numerous occasions — 30-0,” Mendez said. “And GSP was definitely the legacy fight. If they can complete that, I could see 30-0 and he’s done. I can definitely see that. That conversation was brought up numerous times while I was with them.”
Ratings. Khabib Nurmagomedov, three others earn five-star ratings in EA Sports UFC 4.
Game plan. Derrick Lewis wants to come out ‘balls blazing’ after being gun shy his past two fights.
Happy. Jose Aldo happy with UFC 251 performance despite loss, praises referee for ‘excellent job’.
Beef .Yair Rodriguez fires back at Zabit Magomedsharipov: ‘Sit down and wait for me’.
What the Heck.
Top finishes of Chris Weidman.
Top finishes of Beneil Dariush.
Cowboy’s Road to Vegas.
Khamzat Chimaev’s first fight. Looks a lot like all his others.
O’Malley staying true to the brand.
The MMA Vivisection. Breaking down the main fights at UFC Vegas 6.
UFC Unfiltered. Interviews with Derrick Lewis, Chris Weidman, and Jason Ellis.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Calling in the big guns.
Where’s @usantidoping when you need them? #supernecessary https://t.co/ltg9iGIda5— Jorge Masvidal UFC (@GamebredFighter) August 6, 2020
August 6, 2020
@zabeast_mma I gave you 10 months to catch your breath after that third round. You ready to pick up where we left off on 8/29? #FiveRounds #NewEnglandCartel @ufc @seanshelby @danawhite— Calvin Kattar (@CalvinKattar) August 6, 2020
You’re are great fighter and great person. But my goal is the UFC belt, not the rematches of unanimous decision. I’ll give you that 5 round as my first title defense.— Zabit Magomedsharipov (@zabeast_mma) August 6, 2020
PS: don’t forget about first 2 rounds, next time it will last all 5 https://t.co/odRcrdN5ga
He is only interested in a fight with me to see if I can make flyweight prior?? When his fat ass couldn’t Make his own weight class in his first title shot?? @ufc @AliAbdelaziz00 @danawhite @seanshelby @Mickmaynard2 https://t.co/F97hxEqnzH— Cody Garbrandt (@Cody_Nolove) August 7, 2020
Stipe looking very fit.
Gaethje auctioning off his fight gear.
Izzy with the new ‘do.
Israel Adesanya switched the style up (via @stylebender) pic.twitter.com/u1LkRyugi8— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) August 6, 2020
Why would I turn you down ? (Easy paycheck ) https://t.co/SSqOl02n0z— Alistair Overeem (@Alistairovereem) August 7, 2020
@ShogunRua we running this back #fightisland2 ? #bearjew #ufc #mma #thelegend #draw #letsgo #rematch #itstime #bearjewjitsu @CoatbridgeMMA @UFCEurope pic.twitter.com/qSyVVFdA9R— Paul Craig (@PCraigmma) August 6, 2020
#TysonJones pic.twitter.com/q1BrJk82hU— Mike Tyson (@MikeTyson) August 6, 2020
Mirsad Bektic (13-3) vs. Eduardo Garagorri (13-1); UFC Fight Night, Sep. 26.
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