Umar Nurmagomedov was prepared for his cousin, Khabib, to step away from coaching mixed martial arts.
The former UFC lightweight champion announced he would leave the sport, with ‘spending more time with his family’ as the primary reason for doing so. However, there was a secondary reason, and Umar has revealed it during an interview with Aaron Bronsteter of TSN.
“I’m not surprised, we always knew and we talked about this,” said Nurmagomedov. “I’m not nervous. I’m okay. We had a [phone] call. We talked, he gave me advice about the fight [against Raoni Barcelos at UFC Vegas 67], about cutting weight. Everything [is] the same, but he just stopped [because] of too many flights, too many travels.”
Though Khabib has no interest in travelling, Umar says he will continue to train his fighters whenever they travel to Dagestan.
“I think it will be the same,” said Nurmagomedov. “We will be training together in Dagestan when he will be at home. I think nothing changes. We are brothers.
“He will not travel too much,” continued Nurmagomedov. “He will take care of himself, his family, his mother. I think these are very hard things, like travelling too much cornering everybody, this is not easy. That’s why he made the decision. And I’m happy for him.”
As for what happens next for Khabib, Umar sees him coaching to some degree. And despite the ‘Eagle’ no longer being in his corner, Umar expects his advice to pay dividends against Raoni Barcelos at UFC Vegas 67 on Saturday.
“I think this guy has in his blood coaching fighters,” said Nurmagomedov. “I don’t think he can stop it, he will still control me and my brother, other guys, but not the same [way], you understand? He doesn’t want to travel, doesn’t want to come to camps and stay with us a couple of months.”
Prior to his announcement, Khabib ushered in champions in two different promotions — Islam Makhachev in the UFC and Usman Nurmagomedov in Bellator.