Khabib Nurmagomedov has vowed that his late father Abdulmanap’s legacy will not be wasted in Dagestan, as the UFC lightweight champion met with local leaders to discuss the completion of numerous sports projects in the region.
Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov was a fabled figure in his North Caucasus homeland, training a series of high-profile fighters including his undefeated son and investing significant time and effort into the development of combat sports in the region.
His death at the age of 57 earlier in July from complications stemming from a coronavirus infection was widely mourned by the sporting community in Russia and beyond, while Khabib paid tribute in a message last week, writing: “I will miss you Father, you were a Father, a friend, brother and coach in one person.
“You taught me almost everything I know, I hope that you were happy with me. The contentment of parents is the contentment of Allah.”
Meeting regional officials in Dagestan on Saturday, the unbeaten star said he would ensure his father’s projects to develop sport in the region would be completed.
“I would like to thank you for your respectful and trusting attitude towards my father. He had a lot of plans, I consider it my duty to see them through to the end,” said Khabib.
Those sentiments were echoed by the head of Dagestan, Vladimir Vasilyev, who said: “We have an instruction from the President of the Russian Federation (Vladimir Putin) and a debt to the memory of Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, whom we all respected and appreciated immensely, he was my adviser, helped and supported me a lot.”
“He inspired the energy of victories, which he knew how to achieve at all times, making ordinary boys world champions, and with minimal resources, which we all need to learn.
“Therefore, I think today, at this table, everyone understands the measure of official and moral responsibility, but work on these projects is also a matter of honor.”
Last year, Khabib and his father proudly showed the press including RT Sport around a new gym in Dagestan bearing Abdulmanap’s name, and where the trainer had hoped to forge future stars in the mold of his son and the likes of fellow UFC fighter Islam Makhachev.
According to Khabib’s US-based coach Javer Mendez, the lightweight star will continue his father’s legacy through coaching the talent of the future once he has retired from the octagon.
“I know one thing, (Khabib’s) carrying on with the legacy of his father and being a great coach himself,” the American Kickboxing Academy founder said in a recent interview.
“He’s already doing that, he’s been doing that for the past four or five years, helping coach Islam (Makhachev) and other up-and-coming stars.”
In terms of Khabib’s fighting future, UFC boss Dana White has said he will be given all the time he needs to mourn his father’s passing, but that he expects the Dagestani 155lbs ruler to face interim title holder Justin Gaethje later this year.
Speaking to the Arab media this week, Khabib’s manager Ali Abdelaziz also said the fighter would return in 2020 to face Gaethje, most likely in Abu Dhabi.
The UAE capital was the scene of Khabib’s last fight against Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 in September, when he defended his title with a third-round submission as Abdulmanap watched on cageside for the first time in his son’s UFC career.