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Meet the Nurmagomedovs: The family dynasty looking to follow Khabib to UFC greatness

For as long as sport has existed, sporting dynasties have been omnipresent. A number of today’s biggest global stars boast a famous sporting heritage, so it comes as no surprise to see them burst onto the grand stage.   

When it comes to sporting dynasties, a lengthy list emerges with the likes of the Williams sisters in tennis, the Charlton brothers in football and the Manning family in American Football all dominating in their respective sports during their respective eras. 

And in a far-flung corner of Dagestan, another sporting dynasty is on the horizon. Khabib Nurmagomedov has fast developed as the face of mixed martial arts, having dominated throughout his 28-0 career in the octagon to date. 

Khabib is the product of a dedicated family who commit their lives to the practice. 

Under the stewardship of his late father, Abdulmanap, the 31-year-old is the most feared man at lightweight, and is looking to cement his place as the greatest 155-pounder of all time.

But there are a number of other Nurmagomedovs looking to make their mark on MMA, and if all goes to plan, the Dagestani family could be another famous dynasty to join those prestigious names inscribed in sporting folklore.

Leading the Dagestani takeover of the UFC has been one Khabib Nurmagomedov. 

Outside of the Nurmagomedov clan, the likes of Islam Makhachev and Zabit Magomedsharipov are looking to replicate Khabib’s journey from the mountains of Dagestan to the summit of the UFC. 

Over the course of 28 professional contests, you’d be hard-pressed to find a single round in which Khabib has looked second-best, introducing a ferocious and never-before-seen style that has swarmed his 12 UFC opponents to date. 

Not only has he looked to make his presence known in the octagon, but so too has Khabib looked to bring his ‘brothers’ into the UFC fold, whether they be blood related or otherwise. 

The 31-year-old has opened the doors for others to follow, and even threatened to walk away from the UFC after they banned some of his team-mates for the role in the post-UFC 229 carnage. And there looks to be some seriously talented fighters on the come up thanks to his support. 

Perhaps the most exciting Nurmagomedov, behind Khabib of course, is his cousin Usman. The 23-year-old is undefeated in 10 professional contests and has been described as an ‘absolute killer’ by Khabib’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz. 

‘He’s 10-0, all finishes. He’s an absolute killer,’ Abdelaziz told Asian MMA. ‘He’s a Muay Thai specialist and he’s Khabib’s brother, you understand? If you have the same blood as Khabib, you have good wrestling.

‘I’m telling you, he is actually a better version than Khabib. He is better than Khabib. I’m telling you, people should watch for him. He’s an absolute killer.’

Usman trains alongside Khabib in Dagestan and San Jose, California, and the lightweight champion was in attendance for his most recent bout, when he blitzed Jerry Kvarnstrom in the first round at UAEWarriors12. 

A move to the UFC seems an inevitability for this young gun, who has been described as a mixture of Israel Adesanya, Jon Jones and Khabib.  

Спасибо всем за поздравления. Психологически сложный бой для меня в связи с последними событиями. В течении месяца мне предложили 9 разных соперников и у каждого возникали проблемы с вылетом. Следующий мой бой пройдёт в сентябре на турнире GFC. Очень надеюсь на крепкого и сильного соперника, я считаю что уже готов к большим вызовам. Спасибо моим спонсорам @bukaboxing @gorillaenergy @alhadaya.ru

A post shared by Usman Nurmagomedov (@usman_nurmagomedov) on Jul 31, 2020 at 1:42pm PDT

Potentially the most high-profile Nurmagomedov behind Khabib is Umar, who is looking to make his way up the UFC ranks. 

The 24-year-old has an unblemished record of 12 wins, no defeats and is looking to emerge as one of the top bantamweights in a heavily stacked division. 

The 5ft 8in fighter, cousin of Khabib, signed with the UFC earlier this year having previously fought under the Pro Fighting League, Fight Star, Samara MMA Federation, Battle on Volga, and Gorilla Fighting Championship.

Umar regularly features on Khabib’s Instagram page and is in the lightweight champion’s close circle of training partners. The 31-year-old wrestles with his younger cousin when he is in training camp for his bouts.  

Half of Umar’s wins have come via decision, five opponents have been submitted and he has registered a TKO victory. 

He combines his impressive ground and pound with ferocious kicking that often leaves opponents guessing as to what he’ll conjure up with in the octagon.

The 24-year-old was set to face former Cage Warriors bantamweight champion Nathaniel Wood at Fight Island, but the Russian pulled out in the lead up to the event. 

Finally there is Abubakar Nurmagomedov, who has been a constant figure at the side of Khabib during his rise to the top of the UFC. 

Abubakar, like Usman and Umar, is a cousin of the lightweight champion, and has enjoyed a decent mixed martial arts career. 

The 30-year-old has a record of 15 wins, three losses, and, like Khabib, has earned a reputation for being a strong grappler. Abubakar was signed by the Pro Fighting League after enjoying a five-fight win streak under the World Series of Fighting promotion, and made his UFC debut last year, losing to David Zawada. 

Abubakar was thrust into the spotlight in October 2018 when he was involved in a post-fight fracas at UFC 229. 

The 30-year-old jumped the cage and was hit by Conor McGregor before two of Khabib’s cornermen, Zubaira Tukhugov and Esed Emiragaev attacked the Irishman. 

In January 2019, the Nevada State Athletic Commission handed Abubakar a one-year suspension from the sport and a $25,000 fine for his role in the carnage after the controversial bout.   

The mastermind behind the whole operation. 

Abdulmanap’s death last month rocked not just his beloved family, but the wider MMA community as a whole, with the 57-year-old considered a pioneer of the sport. 

A military veteran turned sambo wrestling coach, Abdulmanap was responsible for training a legion of world and olympic champions, across different combat disciplines, including his son, Khabib. 

He was awarded an ‘Honoured Coach of Russia’ title for his services to sport. 

He was idolised by Khabib, and at times it seemed as though the main objective of the UFC lightweight champion was to make his father proud. 

The 31-year-old is targeting a win over Justin Gaethje followed by a match up with Georges St-Pierre to fulfil his father’s lifelong ambition for his son and round off a stunning career. 

But his legacy will extend far beyond Khabib’s successes in the octagon, and if Usman and Umar, as predicted, go onto achieve big things with the UFC, the man to credit for the Nurmagomedov dynasty will be Abdulmanap.  

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