Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Sports Council General Secretary Arif Al Awani has welcomed the prospect of a fight between Russian UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and American interim champion Dustin Poirier in the capital.
Though there is still no official confirmation from UFC or from the promoters here in the UAE, Al Awani revealed that the ongoing Abu Dhabi World Pro Championship itself is a benchmark of Abu Dhabi’s capabilities of hosting major events.
“You are talking about big names coming in and that means there is confidence and trust. We hope to see such big names like Khabib Nurmagomedov,” said Al Awani in an exclusive interview with Gulf News on the sidelines of the ongoing Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu World Pro Championship at the Mubadala Arena.
Al Awani acknowledged that the stardom of Khabib, who is hoping for his first match back since being banned after a controversial win against Conor McGregor, will undoubtedly give UAE’s sporting aspirations a major boost.
“It will be a good publicity for sure,” said Al Awani. “Khabib is an important athlete and a good role model and dedicated to the sport. After his fight in the UFC, he showed how his personality is, so it is good to have such champions with morality and charisma coming here.”
He added that Khabib’s bout in Abu Dhabi will be a very good inspiration for kids.
“For the generation of kids who are competing here at a lower level, Khabib’s fight will be an inspiration,” he said.
“They will know how to be ambitions to go to the highest level,” felt Al Awani, who was confident through Jiu-Jitsu World Pro Championship, many champions would emerge and they have to compete at the top international level.
“One day you will see these Jiu-Jitsu champions competing at the highest level. The sport will compete at the most popular games around the world like the UFC, WWF or boxing.”
Al Awani also emphasised that Abu Dhabi would continue its relentless effort to support all forms of martial arts.
“Abu Dhabi has always been supportive and a good host for the martial arts. We hope for sure, be it UFC or any other martial arts, we can conduct in Abu Dhabi. We hope to see Khabib and everybody fight here in this arena.”