Renowned as one of the top MMA coaches in all of Russia, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov is not a man whose opinion you take lightly. A hardened man who has overcome warfare, resettlement and other turmoil to establish one arguably the elite Dagestani roster of fighters.
At the helm of Abdumanap's gym full of young and ambitious fighters is his son, Khabib Nurmagomedov, a UFC standout inches away from challenging for the lightweight title. Khabib is scheduled to meet Donald Cerrone at UFC 187, with the winner set to meet Rafael dos Anjos in a championship bout later this year.
If Khabib is able to produce back-to-back victories, he will have defeated an American and a Brazilian fighter in consecutive bout to lift the title - a feat that his father believes symbolizes more than just Khabib's standing in the division; it also proof that Russia's talent will soon surpass that of MMA's strongholds, the USA and Brazil.
"Brazilians are good ground fighters, but in this aspect, as the fight moves from the clinch and translations to the ground, we have no equal," Abdulmanap told sk-bazarganova.ru. "Americans are athletic, strong, and are distinguished by explosive athletic power.
"I think that in five or years we will be able to reach the level of the Americans and Brazilians, and we will hold at least two titles."
Those are not merely bold proclamations, according to Abdulmanap. He sincerely believes that Russian talent will soon exploit the weaknesses of other nations. In fact, he believes that three current UFC fighters from Russia have legitimate potential to win the title.
"The most promising Russian fighters in the UFC are, in my opinion, Islam Makhachev, Albert Tumenov and heavyweight Ruslan Magomedov. All of them can become champions in their divisions if they are properly trained."