Khabib's coach expects Umar Nurmagomedov to be UFC champion in three or four years after stunning Fight Island debut

Khabib's coach expects Umar Nurmagomedov to be UFC champion in three or four years after stunning Fight Island debut

January 22, 2021

UMAR NURMAGOMEDOV will be UFC featherweight champion within 'three of four years', his head coach Javier Mendez believes.

Nurmagomedov, the cousin of the promotion's lightweight champion Khabib, made his long-awaited debut on Wednesday on the UFC Fight Island 8 prelims – where he locked horns with Sergey Morozov.

The 25-year-old announced himself to the world in spectacular fashion, choking Morozov out cold in the second round.

Nurmagomedov showcased a diverse range of striking before putting Morozov to sleep.

And Mendez believes he has all the tools to follow in his cousin's footsteps and claim UFC gold.

He told SunSport: "Umar is a different type of fighter than his cousin Khabib.

"But he is still going to do great and I feel he will win the title in three or four years."

American Kickboxing Academy chief Mendez explained the differences in Umar and Khabib's respective styles to SunSport days before the former's stunning debut.

He said: "[He's got] great striking and great kicking. That they [fans] can expect. It's a whole different flair. A whole different flair.

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"You can expect to see everything from him. But one thing that is going to be different is – Khabib's boxing has gotten on fairly well.

"I mean Khabib's boxing has gotten pretty good. Umar's kicking is phenomenal.

"So you can expect to see more kicking [from him]. He's a phenomenal kicker.

"He's great on the ground, he's got good boxing, but he's a phenomenal kicker.

"So that's one of the things you'll notice a difference in between him and Khabib. Umar can kick."

Nurmagomedov was chuffed with his night's work, saying in his post-fight interview: "I’m very happy.

"All my hard work has paid off. I have a lot of work ahead. I have to keep working.

"At the beginning of the fight, I didn’t know where I was. It was a bit hard to find my way. In the second round, I was more relaxed and I found my way.

"This is not my best performance. In the future, I’m going to show everything I have.

"I have much more than what I showed tonight. I’m going to go home and enjoy time with my family and my daughter."

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