Khabib Nurmagomedov will be competing without his father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, for the first time tomorrow afternoon (Sat., Oct. 24, 2020) at UFC 254 live on ESPN+ PPV from inside Flash Forum on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, when the UFC lightweight champion meets Justin Gaethje in the main event.
Nurmagomedov, who will be fighting for the first time since submitting Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 over 13 months ago, is entering a truly important moment in his heralded MMA career. As “Eagle” tries to knock off Gaethje and soar his undefeated professional record to 29-0, he’ll do so without a familiar voice in his corner.
Khabib’s father, Abdulmanap, unexpectedly passed away this past July due to complications stemming from COVID-19. It was an absolute shock to the MMA world considering Nurmagomedov did so much for combat sports, including training and cornering one of the best fighters to ever enter the Octagon. Few knew if Khabib would pick himself back up in time to return to fighting in 2020, but here we are.
In advance to Khabib’s upcoming title unification bout with Gaethje at UFC 254, the promotion has released a heartfelt tribute to the lightweight champion and his late father. The video montage, which can be seen in the above player, offers a look back at Khabib’s UFC career and how his father helped play a role in his maturation as a man and a fighter.
Following Khabib’s stoppage over Poirier at UFC 242 his father claimed that 30-0 would be enough for his son to retire with an all-time great legacy. If Khabib is able to take care of Gaethje this weekend on “Fight Island” he would be one more win away from reaching the goal his father set just one year ago.
After that, it’s anyone’s guess if Khabib ever steps foot inside of the Octagon again.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 254 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN+/ESPN2 at 12 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN+.