Dubai: Umar Nurmagomedov, a younger cousin of the UFC’s reigning lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, has fallen in love with Abu Dhabi so much that he says he will fight “here 100 times if I can”.
Speaking ahead of his UFC debut against Kazakhstan’s Sergey Morozov in a bantamweight at Fight Island on Wednesday, the 25-year-old Umar said: “This is almost like our house. We feel the same here how we feel in Dagestan. We are always feeling very comfortable here. Yes, I like this place. I like that UFC is coming here and I will fight here 100 times if I can.”
The baby-faced MMA fighter comes into the clash against Morozov with a 12-0 professional record. Morozov, six years his senior, boasts a 16-3-0 record and has not tasted defeat in his last six bouts.
However, Umar, who describes himself as a new generation fighter, aims to uphold the Nurmagomedov legacy created by Khabib, on Wednesday.
“It is too early to talk about legacy. This is just my debut,” he said. “When I win 10 times, I am going to talk about legacy. I am very excited, I think I am ready, I am at 100 per cent. I am going to show this. I will go for the win and we will see, I think I am a new generation fighter. I can fight, wrestle, grapple, and I am going to show this.”
Come fight night on Wednesday, Umar will have Khabib in his corner before the champion catches a flight to Las Vegas to continue high-level discussions with the UFC think tank upon his imminent return to the Octagon following his retirement last October following his victory over Justin Gaethje.
The Umar vs Morozov bantamweight clash is part of an action-packed 14-Fight Night card, the second event of the weeklong UFC Fight Island triple-header at the Etihad Arena on Yas Island, headlined by Michael Chiesa v Neil Magny.
Chiesa (17-4) may be two inches shorter than Magny (24-8), he boasts a big 4.5ins reach disadvantage. A southpaw Chiesa also holds the upper hand with his ground game which he will be looking to bring into use early in the fight.
The ‘Maverick’ has also won three straight bouts since his last loss in July, 2018, at UFC 226 against Anthony Pettis. Subsequently, he tapped out Carlos Condit at UFC 232 in Round 2, and posted huge wins over Diego Sanchez and Rafael Dos Anjos.
Magny also comes into the contest on a three-fight win streak, topping which includes a massive unanimous-decision victory over ‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawler in August, 2020, His two other wins came over Anthony Rocco Martin and Li Jingliang, who won at Fight Island 7 on Saturday.
Welterweight Michael Chiesa v Neil Magny
Welterweight Warlley Alves v Mounir Lazzez
Light-heavyweight Isaac Villanueva v Vinicius Moreira
Flyweight Roxanne Modafferi v Viviane Araújo
Flyweight Matt Schnell v Tyson Nam
Featherweight Lerone Murphy v Douglas Silva de Andrade
Middleweight Omari Akhmedov v Tom Breese
Bantamweight Ricky Simon v Gaetano Pirrello
Flyweight Su Mudaerji v Zarrukh Adashev
Middleweight Dalcha Lungiambula v Markus Perez
Flyweight Francisco Figueiredo v Jerome Rivera
Lightweight Mike Davis v Mason Jones
Bantamweight Umar Nurmagomedov v Sergey Morozov
Flyweight Victoria Leonardo v Manon Fiorot