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Israel Adesanya’s head coach explains why he’s lost respect for ‘Hollywood’ Khabib Nurmagomedov and his team

UFC Fight Night: Brunson v Holland Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Eugene Bareman would like to see Khabib Nurmagomedov and his crew go back to their old school ways.

Baremen, the head coach for many top fighters including UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, isn’t typically one to call anybody out for anything. One of his fighters, Brad Riddell, is set to face Rafael Fiziev in the co-main event of this Saturday’s UFC Vegas 44 event. When asked about where Riddell fits in the lightweight title picture, Bareman felt like Riddell may have a better chance at a title shot than Islam Makhachev — before noting that he has lost a bit of respect for Makhachev, Nurmagomedov and the rest of his crew.

“Khabib talks more sh*t about other fighters than anybody and I’m disappointed to see that.,” Bareman told Submission Radio. “Because for me, he was a guy that, oh man, this guy’s still a purist. That’s not a part of his DNA. But now you see him slagging off fighters, and then Makhachev does the same. That never used to be a part of their culture in the sport. They had their own unique place in the sport. Now they’re just like everybody else. Khabib talks just as much sh*t as everybody else. He used to respect all fighters. He used to respect all fighters a lot. Same as Makhachev. I heard that maybe their manager controls their Twitter. But then they’re still foolish for letting the manager control their Twitter.

“I like the old, I like the way they used to be, before they got all Hollywood. They had their own culture. It was theirs. They weren’t trying to be American. They brought a real pure kind of edge to the sport that’s missing from the very top, that’s missing from the very top because it’s so cutthroat. But to see them now, just Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, blah, blah, blah, ‘no good, this guy’s here for a payday, this guy’s here for that, this guy’s no good, you’re all shit, you shouldn’t fight him, you don’t deserve’. Like, just do your thing. And how they do their thing is they just fight until it just gets to a point when you can’t say no. And that was the thing that I respected. That’s all.”

There’s still plenty of respect Bareman has for Nurmagomedov and his fighters, and seems to have an understanding out what fame and stardom can potentially do to the mentality and attitude of professional athletes.

In Bareman’s eyes. while some can navigate this choppy waters just fine, it gets to most others — Nurmagomedov included.

“When I say used to, I still respect them a lot, but the thing that I used to respect about them, the guys like Khabib and that, is they were purists,” Bareman said. “All they did was fight. Don’t worry about the media, don’t worry about [anything else], just get on with your job, fight.

“They come from very humble beginnings. They’re not very materialistic when they make a lot of money. They just keep training. They show up, they grind, and they don’t care about the material positions, flash cars. All they want to do is fight, and their whole goal is to fight. And their style reflects that. They don’t want to be flashy. They want the best way to get to the win. In a straight line from A to B. And that’s what I used to respect about them, and I used to love it. And the thing is, at the top level, it’s a cutthroat game. And the amount of things that you can respect, they started to get pulled away and cut away. And that’s what I used to respect about them. But now the game has got to them as well.”

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