Return to Makhachkala
Five days ago, Khabib Nurmagomedov held his second lightweight title defense at the UFC 242 in the UAE, and now continues to enjoy his triumph. The Russian has already made the promised gala dinner, one of the main dishes of which was double cheese burgers, and then paid a visit to Crown Prince Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. At that, the athlete completed his journey to the Emirates and returned to Makhachkala at night.
The best lightweight of the planet flew to a small homeland in a private plane in the company of his father Abdulmanap and teammates. In Makhachkala, he was met by a delegation, which included the Chairman of the Government of Dagestan, Artyom Zdunov, who informed about this event on his Instagram page.
“Dear friends, late at night at the airport of the capital we met UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov ... Habib did not have 100 days in Dagestan. The gala reception was held under the incendiary dances of the legendary Lezginka collective, ”wrote Zdunov.
Nurmagomedov himself answered several questions, in particular, telling when he would meet with his fans.
“Let us know in the very near future. They simply did not want excessive excitement, a lot of people at the airport, so they arrived at night. While everyone is sleeping. I think we will give an excellent meeting to our fellow countrymen. Probably in a week, ”said Nurmagomedov.
In addition, the second number of the Pound-for-Pound rating (regardless of weight category) UFC admired Dustin Porrier. According to Habib, he turned out to be a more serious opponent than Conor McGregor.
“I did not expect it to be slippery. He was ready for his "guillotine" at the end of the battle. He also said before him that I would give him his neck so that he would spend his strength. And when I did this, I had to fuss. Porje turned out to be a very strong opponent. Much stronger than McGregor, ”concluded Nurmagomedov.
At the end of the UFC 242 tournament, Habib announced his desire to have another fight in 2019. In this regard, his managers have already begun to actively work out all possible options. According to the President of the Absolute Fighting Championship Dana White, the main contender for the meeting with Nurmagomedov is Tony Ferguson, who also has a winning streak of 12 fights.
However, the Russian team is not so positive about Ferguson's candidacy. Athlete manager Ali Abdel-Aziz said that Nurmagomedov does not give up the desire to fight with former UFC champion in two weight categories, Georges Saint-Pierre and does not intend to follow Tony's lead.
“As far as I know, Saint Pierre will be next. I would like that. Ferguson will not get what he wants. It will be as Habib wants. If he calls me and asks for a fight with Georges, then he will be the next ... If Nurmagomedov wants to fight in order to leave a legacy, then the fight with Saint-Pierre will be a truly significant meeting, ”quotes Abdel-Aziz TMZ.
The athlete’s representative also noted that money is not the main motivation for Nurmagomedov, adding that the fight with Saint-Pierre will benefit both the fighters and the UFC.
“By her nature, Dana is an entrepreneur, which is why he became the best promoter in the world. I think that together Saint-Pierre and White will be able to earn even more money and attract even more media attention. It will be much more interesting for people, because it will be a fight for the title of the best fighter in the world, ”the manager said.
An obstacle to the organization of the battle between Nurmagomedov and Saint-Pierre may be the fact that athletes have never performed in the same weight category. Habib spent his entire career in lightweight and Georges in welterweight, after which he went up to a more prestigious division for the title fight with Michael Bisping. At the same time, Abdel-Aziz is confident that it will not be difficult for a Canadian to drive weight to 70 kg.
Note that during a UFC 242 press conference, White said that if Ferguson refuses to fight, Conor McGregor will replace him. Thus, the management of the promotion will once again try to organize a rematch between its two stars and break the record for sales of paid broadcasts. True, according to Abdel-Aziz, such plans of White and the company were not destined to come true.
“This is what I will say about Conor: he is like a resentful ex who cannot find a new guy. Nobody needs him. You heard what Justin Gage said about him. This is not a good person. His train left, ”the manager concluded.
Whittaker Confidence and Freire Challenge
The victory over Porje did not bring Nurmagomedov the title of the best UFC fighter, regardless of weight categories, but success in the next fight could well provide him with an advantage in an absentee dispute with John Jones. Thus, if the successful series continues, the Russian already in 2019 may be on the first line of the ranking table, regardless of the weight category.
Nurmagomedov can be prevented only by an unexpected defeat, but according to Robert Wittaker, in the foreseeable future the Russian is not in danger.
“I can’t imagine that in the near future Khabib could lose. He dealt with Dustin, and he is a great fighter. Each rival of Nurmagomedov knows what to expect from him. I’m sure that throughout the time spent in the training camp, Porrier worked hard on the defense in the stalls, ”quoted MMAJunkie, middleweight champion.
The Australian spoke highly of the Russian and told in detail what exactly impresses him in Nurmagomedov.
“Habib is something special. Evaluate his breathing apparatus, his subtle technique, how he tirelessly works with his hands, his endurance, but what struck me most was his chin, which was hit by one of Dustin's signature punches on the left, ”concluded Whittaker.
However, not everyone shares the opinion of Robert about the invincibility of Habib. So, the current Bellator featherweight and lightweight champion Patricio Freire said that he could crack down on Nurmagomedov.
“Habib is very cool, he has a phenomenal struggle and sambo, but his weakness is his stance, so I can catch him. Nothing is impossible. Tiebau gave him a very difficult fight, and I think this is a way to beat him. I believe we can do this. If I get in, and I will definitely do it, everything will be over, ”said Pit Bull.
He noted that Nurmagomedov acts rather uniformly and expressed the opinion that Al Yakvint managed to impose the most serious resistance on him.
“He showed himself well in a duel with him: he moved on his feet, but incorrectly reduced the distance. I think I can do it much better, ”Freire concluded.