Usman Nurmagomedov wanted a quick turnaround to get on the Bellator 269 card in Moscow, and he got his wish.
Nurmagomedov (13-0) fought Manny Muro at the end of July, and less than three full months later, he’s back to take on Patrik Pietila.
The Dagestani fighter told media outlets Tuesday during the Bellator 269 media day that he was “very pleased to be back in the motherland, to fight in the motherland. Just need to get my weight back on track a little bit, and then we should be all set to go.”
Bellator’s first trip to Russia affords Nurmagomedov a chance to fight at home, but that brings with it its own complications. “It’s definitely a bit stressful, knowing that everyone’s together, the friends and family are going to be watching you,” the lightweight admitted. “On one side, it’s relieving, on the other hand, it’s a bit stressful, there’s a bit of pressure in this fact. But I know one thing, we’re going to walk in, and we’re going to walk out with a win.”
Perhaps the biggest surprise with the fight is that Nurmagomedov is not facing a ranked opponent this weekend, despite his spotless record. “I don’t choose the fighters. Whoever I’m given, then that’s who I’m fighting.”
And despite the obvious comparisons, Usman is not aiming to defeat cousin Khabib Nurmagomedov’s perfect run in MMA, which finished at 29-0.
“I don’t have a personal goal of overcoming and beating Khabib’s record,” he stated. “To me the goal is to stay undefeated, and at the end of the day, I’ll always be known as Khabib’s brother, you know what I mean?”
Along with training alongside Khabib, Usman Nurmagomedov also trains under AKA coach Javier Mendez, who had to take some time off recently after contracting COVID-19. While Nurmagomedov acknowledged his coach’s absence for part of fight camp, he told Cageside Press that “he was still helping us out, he was still guiding us, and I believe throughout this time I didn’t lose that much of a peak form that I could have.”
Watch the full Bellator 269 media day appearance from Usman Nurmagomedov above. The event takes place Saturday, October 23, 2021 at the VTB Arena in Moscow, Russia. More coverage from the event can be found below.