Russian leader Vladimir Putin met in Makhachkala with reigning UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The mixed-style fighter himself returned to Dagestan only last night. Over the past few months, he has been intensively preparing for his second title defense, training first in the US city of San Jose and then directly in Abu Dhabi.
In addition to the head of state and the UFC champion, the meeting was attended by the father of the athlete Abdulmanap and the head of the Republic of Dagestan, Vladimir Vasiliev. Putin warmly greeted Nurmagomedov Sr. and Habib himself, after which he asked the athlete about defending his title in a duel with American Dustin Porrier at the UFC 242 tournament.
First of all, Putin congratulated the athlete’s father on his son’s triumphant performance and called the rival of the latter “a strong, strong fighter.” After that, the president turned to Nurmagomedov himself, admiring his actions in the octagon.
“I congratulate you, a very good fight, beautiful, honest. I looked, a classic asphyxiation, and you didn’t press on his throat. True, true, no, I saw. On both sides, as expected, squeezed. Everything is fair, ”the head of state noted.
In response, Habib spoke about his impressions of the battle with Porje. At the same time, he highlighted the fact that next to the octagon for the first time during his career in the Absolute Fighting Championship was his father. Due to visa problems, Abdulmanap could not attend tournaments with his son in the United States, but he was able to fill this gap in the UAE.
“In the course of the battle he very often found himself next to his father. We even talked to him during the fight. I’m the soul of Dustin, and when I felt that it wasn’t working, I said so to my father. Friends later asked: “Did you tell him not to finish in the first round?” Said Nurmagomedov.
In turn, Abdulmanap admitted that he advised his son "not to fuss." At the same time, the president separately stopped at the heavy blow that Habib missed in the middle of the second round.
“The hit caught. He won all his fights in a rack - with arms, legs, pressure. We expected him to be better on his feet. But this struggle slowed him down a little. If I went to the "hacked" in the first round, it would be dangerous. At first we imported it, and then I stagnated and missed. I hear my father’s displeased voice that we must return to the stall, ”the Russian fighter admitted.
- Putin congratulated Nurmagomedov on defending UFC title
The President expressed the opinion that Nurmagomedov needed to “use his competitive advantages and not allow Porrier to do the same.”
After that, Nurmagomedov continued to talk about his performance in Abu Dhabi, especially noting the support of the fans.
“Constantly in the States you are fighting - the public is supporting, booing. And you come here, and everything is on your side. When I went out, I felt a “crush”, for a long time this was not. I want to come to my senses, look at my father. I think you’ll calm me down, ”the reigning champion said.
Nurmagomedov also spoke in detail about the episode with a choking technique performed by Porrier. Once again, he declared that he had intentionally given the neck to his counterpart, but at one moment he felt that the “guillotine” was very tight.
The Russian champion spoke about the difficulties due to the heat in the arena in Abu Dhabi, and also asked the president about his well-being.
"Very good. It is impossible without sports. Especially undermines the change of time zones. There, in Vladivostok we have seven hours of difference. You don’t sleep there, you come here - you cannot fall asleep here, ”Putin admitted.
It is noteworthy that a year ago Putin already met with Nurmagomedov. This happened a few days after the end of the UFC 229 tournament, in the main duel of which Habib defeated Conor McGregor. The Russian champion defended his lightweight champion title for the first time, and the fight ended in a grand scandal.
After the gong, the Eagle made its famous jump beyond the octagon and provoked a brawl with the Irish team, in particular, his wrestling coach Dillon Denis. As a result, everything turned into a mass brawl, as a result of which Nurmagomedov received a nine-month suspension, and his teammate Zubayra Tukhugov and brother Abubakar received a one-year suspension. Sanctioned and McGregor, suspended for six months.
The meeting between the president and the reigning champion took place on October 10 in Ulyanovsk, where at that moment the Russia-Sports Power forum was taking place. So, Nurmagomedov specially replenished the Dagestan delegation in order to personally talk with the head of state. Together with him, his father Abdulmanap attended the audience.
During the meeting, Putin praised Nurmagomedov’s sporting achievements and commented on the incident after the fight. He acknowledged that a fighter must comply with certain moral standards, but noted that Habib at least strove for this.