LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JULY 17: Khabib Nurmagomedov reacts after teammate Islam Makhachev’s victory against Thiago Moises in their lightweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on July 17, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Even after retiring from active competition, the undefeated former UFC lightweight champion – Khabib Nurmagomedov – keeps himself busy both as a promoter and a coach, making his presence still felt in the sport of MMA.
In a recent interview with ESPN, Nurmagomedov announced that his promotion, Eagle FC, is preparing to expand into the United States market. The promotion is set to hold an event in January of next year in Miami and another one in March in the same city.
According to Nurmagomedov, Eagle FC officials are cooperating with media company FLX on establishing a facility in Miami, called FLX Arena. It will hold promotion’s U.S. events, which will be streamed live via the FLXcast app.
As for the January show Nurmagomedov said it’s going to be “very big” and there are several stars already signed, including veterans from major promotions such as UFC and Bellator. A press conference is scheduled to take place on Dec. 15 in Miami, and then more announcements will be made. Nurmagomedov targets at least 50 signings for next year, he told ESPN.
“If you want to become big in MMA, you have to be in USA,” Nurmagomedov told ESPN. “For fighters, for promotion, you have to be in U.S. If you’re not in U.S., you can never become No. 1 or best. It’s almost impossible.”
Despite those ambitious plans, Nurmagomedov is only interested in fulfilling his own vision for Eagle FC and doesn’t look to compete with UFC, Bellator or PFL
“It’s not a secret the UFC is the best in the world. Almost 30 years these guys, the UFC, have done a great show around the world. UFC is a great brand. I don’t want to compete with them or other promotions. I have my principles. I have my view.”
What’s surprising, he doesn’t shy from taking a front, media role during press events and fighters, but not in the fashion of Dana White.
“I have hair on my head, first of all. I see Dana’s photos when he’s just beginning with the UFC. Now, you can see he don’t have hair on his head. I don’t want to be like Dana.”
As a coach Nurmagomedov plans to bring Dagestanian fighters to the USA in January. They’re going to visit American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California.
“January, we’re gonna travel. And February, March, we’re gonna hunt. Eagle team is gonna hunt.”
One thing that he doesn’t plan to do is resume his fighting career. For him, this chapter of his life is closed for good, and the UFC can’t offer him anything in the world to change his decision.
“Nothing and nobody. We have goals to take back this belt. His name is Islam Makhachev. He [has] to take belt back to Dagestan. I truly believe in him. I truly believe his skill — he can do this. I really believe next — end of the next year — we’re gonna take this belt home.”
Nurmagomedov bought the promotion formerly known as Gorilla Fighting Championship back in 2020. Since December 2020, it was rebranded to Eagle FC, a nod to Nurmagomedov’s nickname ‘The Eagle’. The promotion has run 15 events, mostly in Russia. One was held in Kazakhstan and another one in Kyrgyzstan.
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