Former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is about to take his post-fighting career to the next level.
Nurmagomedov’s Russia-based promotion, Eagle FC, will try out the MMA landscape in the U.S. in 2022, he told ESPN.com on Monday.
After the promotion’s final 2021 show in Russia next month, it will do a show in Miami in January – and Nurmagomedov said a news conference will announce the event and some of its fighters in the coming weeks.
“The next show for Eagle FC is going to be in Moscow (on) Dec. 10,” Nurmagomedov told ESPN.com “It’s going to be a very big show – last show of this year. It’s going to be a very big fight card. … Next, it’s going to be in the U.S. in Miami end of January. It’s going to be a very big show. We’re going to have three, four big stars we already signed. I don’t want to announce (them) right now because Dec. 15, I’m going to have a big press conference in Miami. I’m going to come to Florida.”
Nurmagomedov also said the plan for his promotion is to sign a lot more fighters in the new year, including some who used to fight under the UFC and Bellator banners.
“2022 is going to be a very big year for Eagle FC,” he said. “We’re going to sign more than 50 fighters around the world – young fighters, former UFC and Bellator stars. We’re going to have big shows and some of them are going to be in Miami.”
Nurmagomedov eventually vacated the UFC lightweight title after a submission of Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. Then he resisted the attempts from UFC president Dana White to forego his announced retirement.
He finished his career with a 29-0 record, including 13-0 in the UFC. His final four fights were title bouts, including three straight submissions of Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier and Gaethje.
He said he thinks for Eagle FC to compete with the biggest MMA promotions, holding events int he U.S. is of paramount importance.
“If you want to become big in MMA, you have to be in the USA,” Nurmagomedov said. “For fighters, for promotions – you have to be in the U.S. If you’re not in the U.S., you can never become No. 1. It’s almost impossible. It’s my opinion if you want to be best, you have to be in the U.S.”
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