Undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov received a grand reception when he touched down in Abu Dhabi to defend his title against Dustin Poirier at UFC 242, but ‘The Eagle’s’ dream has always been to compete in Motherland Russia.
Nurmagomedov, who hails from the Republic of Dagestan, revealed to Channel 1 (transcript via RT Sport) that he is currently in negotiations with the UFC to have his next title fight in Russia, and he’s ‘80 percent sure’ it’s going to happen.
“Negotiations are continuing with the UFC. I really want to fight in Russia,” Khabib told Russia’s Channel 1. “In St. Petersburg there’s a closed arena [Gazprom Arena].
“In Moscow, Luzhniki Stadium is open… I was there at the [football] World Cup final when it rained, if that kind of rain happened it would ruin an [MMA] event.
“In St. Petersburg the stadium seats 75,000 people, I could fight there. In a small arena it wouldn’t work.
“I really want to fight here, talks are continuing, I’m about 80 percent sure my next fight will be in Russia.”
Nurmagomedov’s next title defense is expected to be against former interim lightweight champ Tony Ferguson but the grappling powerhouse is also interested in a mega-fight with retired UFC legend Georges St-Pierre.
Khabib’s father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, has hinted that his son could retire after his 30th professional fight. The reigning UFC lightweight champ is currently 28-0 and has looked virtually unstoppable throughout his career.