“We’re just finished with this, that’s all I can say. We’re done.” So saith Usman Nurmagomedov, on his family and cousin Khabib’s long rivalry with UFC superstar Conor McGregor.
The rivalry is over. Khabib is retired. Now, it’s time for other members of the clan to shine. Umar and Abubakar over in the UFC. And Usman himself in Bellator, where he makes his promotional debut this Friday at Bellator 255. Nurmagomedov (11-0) will face Mike Hamel in his debut.
The questions about his more infamous cousin are ever-present, it seems. But what has changed now that Khabib has transitioned from fighting to coaching? Not much, it seems, because “The Eagle” was doing both all along.
“He always was my coach, nothing’s changed. It’s you guys thinking he just became a coach, but he’s always been a coach on our team,” Nurmagomedov said during this week’s Bellator 255 virtual media day. “So nothing’s changed, he’s still my sparring partner, still my trainer, still my coach. We still joke together, we still do everything together just like we used to.”
Usman does, however, see Khabib going on to claim Coach of the Year at some point. “He already was the Athlete of the Year, so I believe he will get the Coach of the Year as well. Because for now, he only cornered two of our teammates and two of them got successful victories. And I will be the third.”
Long a member of top prospect lists, Usman Nurmagoemdov will look make an impact right out of the gate this Friday at Bellator 255. “I’d like to make a big statement in my debut fight so I can get more fans all over the world, especially in the U.S. and Bellator.” God willing, he added, he’ll get the victory come Friday.
Watch the full Bellator 255 virtual media day scrum with Usman Nurmagomedov above. Bellator 255 takes place Friday, April 2 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. The card airs live on Showtime, and will be available in its entirety right here on Cageside Press.