HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – His son Khabib was perhaps the most prominent example of Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov’s ability to craft mixed martial artists, but he wasn’t the only one.
2021 PFL Playoffs featherweight semifinalist Movlid Khaybulaev (17-1) is among those who considered themselves lucky enough to be under the tutelage of coach Nurmagomedov, who died of COVID-19 complications in 2020.
As he enters his 2021 PFL Playoffs 3 bout vs. Brendan Loughnane (21-3), Khaybulaev’s goals remain the same: to win and keep his coach’s memory alive.
“I owe him a lot because he’s the one who put a lot of time into us,” Khaybulaev told MMA Junkie on Wednesday while he wore a shirt with his coach’s image on it. “It’s probably more time than he spent with the family. He was always training with his students and coaching us. I would say there’s a big part (of why I’m here) is because of his work. Definitely, he’s a big inspiration for me and I’m going to carry his legacy.”
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Since the death of Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, Khaybulaev has trained with Khabib. The former UFC lightweight champion continues his transition to coaching after his October retirement. To Khaybulaev, Khabib is nothing short of an icon.
“I’ve known him since 2009, in different years, more or less,” Khaybulaev said. “He’s been always around. We’ve trained with his father when he was alive. He’s a great guy. We always help each other. Well, rather, he’s helping us at this point. He’s very supportive in many ways and it stays like a big family.”
“… He’s a great inspiration for everybody in the region. He is actually one of the people who put Dagestan on the map. Now people know about this region much more than before. He’s a very honorable man. He helps us not only in fighting but in lifestyle. He shows people how to be an honorable person. Overall, he’s just a great inspiration and a great man to make our region known in the world.”
The 2021 PFL Playoffs 3 takes place Friday at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The main card airs on ESPN2/ESPN+ after prelims on ESPN+.
Check out MMA Junkie’s full 2021 PFL Playoffs 3 pre-fight interview with Movlid Khaybulaev above.
Photos: Khabib Nurmagomedov through the years
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