After a number of false starts, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s cousin, Umar Nurmagomedov, is finally set to make his UFC debut, with the UFC lightweight champ confirming his teammate’s upcoming fight date in a recent interview.
Nurmagomedov confirmed that his cousin’s upcoming UFC debut is set to take place on “UFC Fight Island” on January 23, on the blockbuster UFC 257 fight card headlined by Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor.
Nurmagomedov will take on Sergey Morozov in a bantamweight matchup in Abu Dhabi, with the unbeaten Russian looking to kick off his UFC career with a win after seeing a host of prior bookings fall by the wayside.
Umar was originally set to face American Hunter Azure on April 18, but the emerging COVID-19 pandemic forced that fight to be scrapped. He was then booked to face British bantamweight star Nathaniel Wood in July. But Umar was forced to withdraw from the fight card. A third matchup, this time against Morozov, was also scrapped after Umar was taken ill during training camp ahead of fight week.
Now Umar and Morozov have been rebooked and will face off in Abu Dhabi in the UFC’s first big pay-per-view event of 2021, with Khabib revealing his excitement at seeing his relative and teammate finally getting his shot in the UFC octagon.
“Umar’s debut has been postponed three times. His fight will take place on January 23rd in Abu Dhabi. Less than a month left. I hope that he still performs,” he told Match TV.
“Umar has long been a UFC-level fighter: he is 24 years old and ready for big challenges. I will be with him, help as much as I can, advise, fight with him myself, control the preparation process.
“So January 23rd is a big day for our team and our family.”
It means Khabib will be in Abu Dhabi at the same time as former rivals McGregor and Poirier, who both have their sights set on the Russian’s UFC lightweight title.
Khabib insists he’s retired, but also stated that discussions with the UFC over him relinquishing the title haven’t taken place yet.