Former UFC lightweight kingpin Khabib Nurmagomedov, a NAGA grappling world champion and two-time combat sambo titleholder, ruffled a few feathers at the UFC on FX 7 weigh ins event back in early 2013 when he wore a T-shirt that read, ”If sambo was easy, it would be called jiu-jitsu.”
Brazilian fans hoping “The Eagle” would get his comeuppance the following night had to eat a second helping of Dagestani pie when Nurmagomedov finished lightweight rival and Santa Catarina native Thiago Tavares by way of first-round technical knockout, part of an incredible 29-0 win streak.
Nurmagomedov, 34, has since retired from UFC and now serves as coach and mentor for a squad of Dagestani up-and-comers. “The Eagle” will have an opportunity to gauge their progress when a team of Texas all stars, featuring select grapplers from the “B Team” in Austin, travel to Kazakhstan for ultimate bragging rights.
“It’s a team event in Kazakhstan, where it’s B-Team versus Khabib Nurmagomedov’s team,” submission grappler Ethan Crelinsten said on The Simple Man podcast. “[Khabib] is coaching. We’ve got the team together: 91kg+, -99kg, all the way down to 60kg, under 60kg. So, it’s seven guys spread out across those weight categories. It’s not quintet style, it’s duel, so weight class vs. weight class. And I think there is a weight system, so a points win is something and a sub win is two points, or something like that.”
A date for the event has yet to be announced and it’s not yet known which participants will make the final roster. Let’s just hope this card streams somewhere online so that combat sports fans can watch it. Perhaps a loss for Team Nurmagomedov would be enough to lure “The Eagle” onto the mats for revenge? “That would be insane,” Crelinsten said.
No argument here.