Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov’s son Khabib was likely the most visible example of his ability to develop mixed martial artists, but he wasn’t the only one.
Movlid Khaybulaev (17-1) of the 2021 PFL Playoffs featherweight semifinals was one of those who counted themselves fortunate to have been under the supervision of coach Nurmagomedov, who died of COVID-19 problems in 2020.
Khaybulaev’s ambitions remain the same as he prepares to face Brendan Loughnane (21-3) in the third round of the 2021 PFL Playoffs: to win and honor his coach.
“I owe him a lot because he’s the one who put a lot of time into us,” Khaybulaev told MMA Junkie on Wednesday while he wore a shirt with his coach’s image on it. “It’s probably more time than he spent with the family. He was always training with his students and coaching us. I would say there’s a big part (of why I’m here) is because of his work. Definitely, he’s a big inspiration for me and I’m going to carry his legacy.”
Since the death of Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, Khaybulaev has trained with Khabib. The former UFC lightweight champion continues his transition to coaching after his October retirement. To Khaybulaev, Khabib is nothing short of an icon.
“I’ve known him since 2009, in different years, more or less,” Khaybulaev said. “He’s been always around. We’ve trained with his father when he was alive. He’s a great guy. We always help each other. Well, rather, he’s helping us at this point. He’s very supportive in many ways and it stays like a big family.”
“… He’s a great inspiration for everybody in the region. He is actually one of the people who put Dagestan on the map. Now people know about this region much more than before. He’s a very honorable man. He helps us not only in fighting but in lifestyle. He shows people how to be an honorable person. Overall, he’s just a great inspiration and a great man to make our region known in the world.”
The 2021 PFL Playoffs 3 takes place Friday at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The main card airs on ESPN2/ESPN+ after prelims on ESPN+.
Source: USA Today