Champion fighter Khabib enjoying the 'world's coolest winter' in UAE
UFC boss White is planning to bring Khabib back to the steel cage for one last fight
UFC icon Khabib Nurmagomedov is in the UAE, enjoying the ‘world’s coolest winter’. The 32-year-old Russian is warming himself up for the heavy-duty action ahead.
No, the Russian ‘Eagle’ is not returning to the octagon yet. Not until a proposed meeting takes place with UFC president Dana White in Abu Dhabi’s Fight Island during the triple header series — two Fight Nights and UFC 257 — at the Etihad Arena.
However, before that engagement, this Friday, Khabib’s newly-acquired Eagle Fighting Championship in partnership with the local promotion UAE Warriors will host an event to commemorate his late father and coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, who died last year from Covid-19 complications.
And fans, if they have already taken the Covid-19 vaccine, can attend the UAE Warriors 15 at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena in Abu Dhabi, the organisers said.
Fouad Darwish, general manager of Palms Sports, which manages the UAE Warriors, said Khabib has been a supporter.
“Khabib is a brother, he is a friend and a big fan of the UAE Warriors. He has come to our events thrice.
He is a very good friend with the Palm Sports Chairman Abdulmunam Al Hashemi. We have created a great relationship. Khabib believes the UAE Warriors is the next big thing. We are doing a big ceremony in his father’s name. The whole event is in commemoration of this late father,” Darwish told Khaleej Times.
UAE Warriors will feature 15 fights, including fighters from Khabib’s EFC. And Team Khabib is already in the country. He showed off his football skills in Dubai against none other than Clarence Seedorf, the legendary Dutch midfielder.
“This guy was my father’s favourite football player,” Khabib said after meeting the former Real Madrid and AC Milan star.
The match featured Turkish chef Burak Ozdemir, popularly known as CZNBurak, who recently opened a restaurant in Dubai. And Khabib did visit the restaurant too for an “amazing dinner”.
Enjoying the cool climes, Khabib and his team went hiking in Hatta. And an announcement on the first Khabib Gym in Abu Dhabi is also expected soon.
Amid all these cool non-MMA activities, White is planning to bring Khabib back to the steel cage for one last fight.
Last October, the lightweight division champion made it 29-0 career record with a second-round triangle choke submission move over Justin Gaethje in Abu Dhabi. And later an emotional Khabib shockingly took off his gloves and called it a day.
“I’m obviously meeting him because I believe that he should fight again. Look at what he did to Justin Gaethje. Look at what he’s done to every opponent he has faced. I think he should fight again. I’m going to press him as hard as I can for one more,” White told ESPN MMA. “His dad wanted him to hit 30-0.”
The date for the much-anticipated meeting is not decided but it will be during the triple header week from January 16 to January 24.
However, White maintained the right opponent for Khabib’s last fight would be Conor McGregor, who will be taking on Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi on January 24.
White noted that the temperamental Conor is very focused now, which is a promising sign.
“I don’t know if this is going to be the same Conor after the Poirier fight, but if this Conor sticks around for the next year, how do you not do Khabib versus Conor again?”
At the UFC 229 in October of 2018, Khabib submitted Conor and the ensuing mayhem remains the most volatile encounter ever in the UFC.
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