Umar Nurmagomedov shares what it’s like in UFC without Khabib in his corner

Khabib Nurmagomedov’s absence from UFC Vegas 67 didn’t appear to have any impact on his cousin Umar Nurmagomedov. The rising bantamweight started the main event with a first-round knockout.

Khabib recently declared his intention to stop coaching and withdraw from mixed martial arts altogether in order to spend more time with his family. The absence of Khabib for this weekend’s bout intensified the pressure Umar Nurmagomedov felt.

Following his victory, Umar Nurmagomedov was interviewed by Brett Okamoto of ESPN MMA about whether the absence of his cousin from his corner affected the outcome.

Umar said in his reply

“When [Khabib] is close, it’s a big motivator for me. When he is far away, it’s more of a responsibility for me, being in front of my family and friends. But I’m good… Without [Khabib in the corner] it’s more pressure for me. With him [there] it was easy. Without him, more pressure.”

Umar Nurmagomedov demonstrated his footwork prowess by quickly knocking out Raoni Barcelos. The young bantamweight contender is now ranked No. 11 in the UFC standings. He is currently working towards a title shot.

Given that Ricky Simon is ranked No. 10, a match with the American would make sense for Umar Nurmagomedov. However, the Dagestani made it obvious that he is not interested in Simon.

“I don’t want to fight [Simon] because when I asked him to fight, he said, ‘Who are you?’ I will show you who I am… I will fight anybody but not this guy.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov retired from the UFC in 2020. Since that time, he took on the role of co-main coach at the American Kickboxing Academy.

Islam Makhachev is a close friend and training partner of Khabib. Makhachev most recently defeated Khabib to claim the UFC lightweight championship. Makhachev’s title defense against Alexander Volkanovski is at UFC 284 in February. There have been speculations that Makhachev would be impacted by Khabib Nurmagomedov’s absence.