It is hard to deny that there has been a recent surge of talent coming out of Russia and the surrounding region. Apart from Khabib Nurmagomedov's impressive streak in the lightweight division, fighters out of Russia, Dagestan, the Chechen Republic and other parts of the Caucasus continue to make a splash in the MMA scene.
Many of these fighters, including Rustam Khabilov, Rusian Magomedov, Ali Bagautinov, Adlan Amagov and many others represent various regions in Russia. However, according to Nurmagomedov, the decision to move to the United States to train and compete should not be taken as a sign of weakness.
"If our fighters fly to America, it does not mean that they are second-rate," Nurmagomedov told Prosport-Online.ru. "Our fighters are among the best. All the men who go, some of them (maintain) a 100 percent to 80 percent record. This is just the beginning."
In fact, Nurmagomedov went so far as to suggest that Americans would soon learn to fear the surge of talent arising from the region.
"After a couple of years, Americans will be afraid. I know that many of their fighters do not take fights. When they are offered, they refuse. In my case, Dana White often said that all refuse to fight me."
Khabib has been on the sidelines since his last victory back in April 2014. The win came in the form of a unanimous decision victory over Rafael dos Anjos, who himself is now coming off a dominant thrashing of Nate Diaz and a knockout win over former champion Benson Henderson. It marked the Dagestan native's sixth straight win in the UFC, and extended his undefeated streak to an impressive 22-0. He is patiently awaiting a clean bill of health before he resumes hard training and believes he will be ready to fight in April.