Umar is a future UFC champion. Khabib’s brother got a ticket to the big leagues
Alexander Frolov May 16, 2023, 1:00 PM Moscow time Audio version: Your browser does not support the audio element.
Soon another Nurmagomedov will be with a belt.
Khabib Nurmagomedov is long retired, but champions by that name remain. Usman Nurmagomedov dominates Bellator’s lightweight division, and Umar Nurmagomedov is rushing to the UFC title. Yes, while Umar is ranked 11th in the bantamweight rankings, however, even competitors call the Russian one of the top favorites for the title race. Unfortunately, no one wants to fight Nurmagomedov, as UFC President Dana White recently lamented.
Not all Nurmagomedovs are stars. Will Abubakar be remembered for Conor’s bruises alone?
“Everyone asks me about him. This guy isn’t the type of person everyone wants to fight, but we’ll take care of that. It’s always hard to put together a fight for a guy who’s on his way to the top ten, because those ahead of him don’t want to risk his place in the rankings. This is a difficult task. The fight with him is from the category of those that everyone publicly accepts, but in a private conversation they refuse. Nobody wants to fight him,” White said at a news conference.
Meeting Umar is really a big risk. He confidently outplayed all four of his rivals in the UFC: only Nathan Maness managed to avoid an early defeat, losing outright to Dagestan by court decision. Nurmagomedov resembles Khabib not only in looks, but also in mastery level: Umar fights brilliantly, constantly presses and has excellent posturing skills. So far, Nurmagomedov simply doesn’t see any weaknesses.
No wonder even sharp-tongued Aljamain Sterling is sure that Umar will become the bantamweight champion: “Umar is really very good. I think his fights speak for themselves. He is a very good opponent and it seems that he is a future champion. Is it better than Peter Yan? Right now, Peter has done a lot more, you can see that. Stylistically, Umar could be another tough night for Jan,” Sterling said in a YouTube video.
And it looks like now Nurmagomedov Jr. is finally getting a ticket to the big leagues! First, Khabib said that his sister would perform in the main battle of one of the tournaments, which is already an indicator of serious recognition. And now the well-known journalist Ariel Helwani said that Umar will finally meet a great rival. They should be Corey Sandhagen, who is ranked fourth. And this is the most suitable candidate for the top 5, because Corey is ready to fight always and with everyone.
Let’s hope Nurmagomedov and Sandhagen actually meet in the Octagon and as soon as possible. Umar needs a great opponent to finally prove his championship claims. Stylistically, Corey also suits the Dagestan: The ground floor is his weak side and his standing skills aren’t enough to beat Nurmagomedov. But Umar should definitely not relax, because Sandhagen is an experienced and uncompromising guy, with a two-win series. This will be a tough fight.