Any number of Dagestani mixed martial artists were influenced by the teachings of Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, the late father of former UFC lightweight champion Khabib.
Abdulmanap helped train a host of fighters from the region in addition to his son, including Bellator 276 winner Gadzhi Rabadanov.
Rabadanov (17-4-2) secured a unanimous decision win against the formerly undefeated Jay Jay Wilson in St. Louis on Saturday. Following the fight, he could be seen sporting a t-shirt with Abdulmanap’s image, and spoke about what the late Sambo coach meant to his career.
“Everything that I have and everything that I am is part of his success,” Rabadanov said following the fight, backstage at the Family Arena. “Everything from the cage fighting, to what we are today— everything, this man built for us. No matter what it is, forever, it will always be in his honor.”
In regards to the fight itself, there was one thing that surprised Rabadanov about opponent Jay Jay Wilson. Wilson, just 24-years old, was coming up from featherweight to make his debut at 155lbs in the bout.
“I thought, he’s young, he’s not power[ful]. I was wrong,” admitted Rabadanov. “He has power.”
Watch the full Bellator 276 post-fight press conference appearance from Gadzhi Rabadanov above.