Russian MMA fighters had a fantastic year overall in 2022, as Islam Makhachev wasn't the only lightweight champion to be crowned. His relative Usman Nurmagomedov is also a student of Nurmagomedov's. At Bellator 288 recently, the 16-0 Bellator star added another championship to the nation's legacy by defeating Patricky "Pitbull" Freire.
Khabib Nurmagomedov claimed that his late father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov always intended to rule the 155-pound division in MMA.
“My father always said this. We had the best lightweights in Russia for 15 years pro and amateur. In the last few years, we stepped on the world stage. First I won then Islam then Usman. Now they’ll defend their titles. They have some serious competition. We’ll hold on to these belts for five-six years,” Khabib said in a recent interview (h/t MMA Fighting).
He also went on to add that a long list of fighters came close to winning the title and Russian MMA fighters will dominate the MMA circuit for the next couple of years.
“Watch my interview from 2013. I said that Russia would have a lot of belts in five-six years. At that moment, it didn’t seem real. We can have a champion in the morning. Petr [Yan] was a champion, Zabit [Magomedsharipov] was close, Askar Askarov was close, [Sergei] Pavlovich is close. Many guys already became champions and can become champions in the future. I think Russian MMA fighters will completely dominate in a couple years,” Khabib said.
What do you think of the quotes from Khabib? Let us know in the comments below.