Dana White has revealed the UFC will give Khabib Nurmagomedov all the time he needs before an octagon return, after MMA was rocked by the death of the Russian’s father.
Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, who had trained his son through the champion’s steady rise to the top of the lightweight division, passed on July 3 after battling coronavirus.
The 57-year-old was considered an icon of Russian combat sports, last coaching a victory for his dominant son against Dustin Poirier in September.
Dana White is ready to give Khabib Nurmagomedov time out of the cage to mourn his father
Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov was Khabib’s coach before he died of Covid-19-related issues
MMA was hit hard by Abdulmanap’s passing, as White is not going to hurry the champion back
The 28-0 fighter looked set for a clash with interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje next, but the UFC president is ready for a delay.
‘It’s terrible, we feel horrible for Khabib. We know how much he loves his father and how close they were,’ White said after the UFC 251 weigh-ins on Fight Island.
‘We’re not messing with Khabib. We’re leaving Khabib alone. Khabib needs time.
Khabib’s father oversaw his ruthless rise through the lightweight division to a 28-0 record
Abdulmanap was central in developing Khabib’s so far unbeatable wrestling game in the UFC
‘Khabib is going to need time to get his head straight and figure out what’s next for him, you know? So we’re just gonna leave him alone for a little while. We’ll figure it out.’
Nurmagomedov’s third-round submission victory over Poirier left the question of who can stop the Russian still unanswered after some hoped the American could finally cause him problems.
His father’s legacy will live on through the lightweight champion, who looks set to continue his domination into future fights.
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