In 1997 he would have been 9. He wrestled bears.
Khabib Nurmagomedov, who claimed the UFC 229 match Saturday night beating Conor McGregor, with ensuing riot afterwards, was raised, and got his early training, in part, wrestling bears. Some on social joked that McGregor was set up to fail.
Nurmagomedov wrestled bears.
Full name Khabib Abdulmanapovich Nurmagomedov, the 30-year-old Russian mixed martial artist is the first Russian and first Muslim to win a UFC title. And with his win over McGregor, Nurmagomedov holds on to his UFC Lightweight Champion title. Nurmagomedov is from Dagestan, the southeastern tip of Russia on the Caspian Sea bordering Georgia. He is Sunni Muslim.
His father, a trainer, explained the bear wrestling in a 2015 interview that described the video this way: “…a stone-cold Dagestani and his unorthodox training regimen.”
Khabib confirmed the video was authentic and was indeed him, but said he didn’t know he was being recorded. His father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov told Russian media that his son was trying to prove himself. He lamented that there were not more “interesting bouts” to have recorded.
He was asked about his son: “…with the image of a guy who fought bears as a child, for people from the States, this is crazy. Tell me, was it more entertainment or was it a full-fledged fragment of the guys training?”
Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov answered: “First of all, (a) father always wants to check his son, as a child, what he is capable of. It is a pity that there are not ten more bouts more interesting when he was younger, which I shot. Rather, it is a test of character than training.”
Abdulmanap, who it was reported is himself a “hardened man who has overcome warfare, resettlement and other turmoil” trains “arguably the elite Dagestani roster of fighters …” including UFC’s Islam Makhachev.
Abdulmanap said he turned the ground floor of their house in Dagestan into a gym to train his son and others in the community. The idea was to try and make the national wrestling team. And, it was reported, to become a skilled fighter to combat terrorism, an omnipresent threat in the Republic of Dagestan in the 1990s, he said. His son would compete in judo and become a two-time Combat Sambo World Champion, Sambo being the “martial art designed for self-defense by the Soviet army.”
“I believe every man must be ready for war even in peaceful times as it is always a topic of discussion in the Caucasus,” he was quoted as saying.
On a lighter note, back to the bear wrestling.