- Khabib Nurmagomedov said he wouldn’t be jumping out of the UFC Octagon in his next fight because his dad will be watching from beside the cage.
- Nurmagomedov infamously mounted the cage after submitting Conor McGregor last year so he could charge at the Irishman’s friend.
- After the bout, Nurmagomedov said Vladimir Putin called to say he was proud, but then he said he knew he’d get a “smash” when he returned home to his father.
- “I have to stay inside the cage,” Nurmagomedov said this week.
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Khabib Nurmagomedov said he wouldn’t be able to jump out of the Octagon at UFC 242 because his dad will be there, watching from beside the cage.
The Russian wrestler famously submitted Conor McGregor with a tight neck crank in the fourth round of a wild fight at UFC 229 in October last year.
But rather than celebrate, he mounted the fence and charged at McGregor’s friend Dillon Danis, who was sitting cageside. While that was going on, members of Nurmagomedov’s team invaded the Octagon and exchanged punches with McGregor.
Nurmagomedov was unapologetic over the role he played when he spoke with the media at the post-fight press conference and even said Vladimir Putin had called him to say that he was “very proud.”
The only regret the 30-year-old seemed to have was that his father might have seen, and he was concerned about how he’d react. Nurmagomedov said he expected to get a “smash” when he got home to Dagestan after leaving Las Vegas.
Indeed, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, Khabib’s coach, mentor, and father, said at the time that his sanctions would be far “tougher” than whatever the UFC could impose against his son.
Abdulmanap will be there cageside at UFC 242 when his son defends his lightweight world title against Dustin Poirier in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in September.
And Nurmagomedov told BT Sport that he planned on taking his game up a gear, and that includes staying in the cage this time.
“I have to go different level, but not … I can’t jump out cage, I have to stay inside the cage,” Nurmagomedov said.
When asked if this was because his father told him he had to stay inside, Nurmagomedov laughed and said yes.
He then added that fans could expect an improved Nurmagomedov when he competes against Poirier. “I already improved myself. I’m working everywhere – grappling, striking, wrestling, conditioning.
“Every fight I improve, if you want to be champion, defend your title, you have to be high on MMA. A lot of tough, young, hungry guys coming and you have to be ready for everybody. Every day you have to learn something. We have 11 weeks before the fight, and I’m going to improve myself for the next 11 weeks.”
Nurmagomedov said Poirier, a lightweight with exceptional wins over Justin Gaethje, Eddie Alvarez, and Max Holloway, was a “tough” opponent.
He added: “He has good experience, more than 20 fight in UFC, and beat a lot of tough guys. I like his footwork, boxing, everything, but I’m going to make him tired. If you watch his fights, he fight stand-up. He fight everybody stand-up but with me, you have to be ready with wrestling pressure.
“Fight beginning boxing style, but I’m going to take him down, make him tired, and finish him.”
Nurmagomedov fights Poirier on September 7.
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