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Tumenov on Northcutt's popularity and Balkar 'bride kidnapping'

In the 2nd part of our interview with Albert Tumenov, the UFC fighter talks Sage Northcutt's popularity, Khabib's upcoming fight with Tony Ferguson, and the original local marriage tradition that is popular among the people of Kabardino-Balkaria.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It's not a secret that Northcutt's paycheck could exceed what some UFC veterans make despite the experience gap.

While Tumenov is comfortable with his pay, he delved into the problem that Russian fighters don't achieve the same level of awareness in USA as their American "co-workers".

"Sage Northcutt is a favourite of UFC," Albert is stating this with his calm and reasonable voice, without any hostility towards Northcutt. "We can say he appeared literally from nowhere and turned into a big star with no time. UFC promotes certain fighters to make them more popular. As for Russian fighters, we have difficulties with being popular in America. There're no UFC events in Russia, and the truth is that nobody among Russian fighters brings UFC big money. Today Russian fighters should put decent efforts to become more popular among American fans."

Tumenov admits that knowing English is another crucial factor for promoting yourself as a fighter in America:

"The English language is very important to be successful in USA," Albert told BloodyElbow. "I've been taking English lessons for two or three months, but it's really hard when you have a training camp. When I come home after the training, I have to sleep, so there's no time left for anything else. Maybe next time I will try to speak something in English to the fans, when I have my victory speech."

Regarding trash-talking, Tumenov doubts it would be the right way to increase his fan-base:

"In our society, trash talk is not accepted, especially in North Caucasus. We can joke and make some fun of our opponent, but there's a certain fringe you shouldn't step over. No need to laugh at person's family, ethnicity or religion. As for calling out your opponent to fight - I'm alright with this. I'm ready to call out anyone from top 10, be it Rick StoryDong Hyun Kim or Tarec Saffiedine. I'm ready to fight anyone."

Asked about Khabib Nurmagomedov, Tumenov is almost sure his countryman will defeat Tony Ferguson.

"I have to admit that I haven't seen Ferguson's fights," says Tumenov. "But if Khabib comes in a good shape that he had before getting injured, he should win this fight. I can't say for sure what is the reason of the injuries MMA fighters use to have. Sometimes you train and it's all right, but then suddenly you get injured. Someone can control it, but I don't know how. I was lucky by now, but nobody can be totally safe from this. MMA is a rough sport, it's very traumatic."

To conclude, Albert delved into an interesting local tradition of his native republic of Kabardino-Balkaria. Since Tumenov is going to get married soon, he discussed local marriage customs.

"Well, the most interesting marriage tradition we have is so-called 'Kidnapping of a bride', but don't be afraid," Albert reassures me. "Nowadays it's just a totally different thing in comparison to the older ages. Today when you have mutual feelings with a girl, you can "kidnap" her, usually upon the preliminary agreement. Her relatives come to your home shortly after this. They ask her if she would like to stay in your house. If her answer is "yes" then we arrange the marriage. Well and she stays at the groom's house not alone - usually her sisters or female friends accompany her. But if her answer is negative, then she comes back to her home - nobody can hold anyone by force. It would be illegal. Nowadays this custom has nothing in common with the original bride kidnappings that took place in the passed ages. Today it's merely a beautiful tradition where each of participants knows his role from beforehand."

The last question about the most valuable qualities of a wife of a future UFC champion made Albert smile:

"There're a lot of qualities, for sure. I think she has to be thoughtful, support me in everything and have a good attitude towards my parents."