Abdulmanap — the father of UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov — is improving according to the latter’s manager Ali Abdelaziz.
Adbulmanap, 57, has been hospitalized in a Moscow hospital since last month due to previous complications with his heart as well as having contracted COVID-19. Nurmagomedov would later confirm that his father — who was put in a medically-induced coma multiple times — was in critical condition.
Although the situation remains serious, Abdelaziz recently revealed that Abdulmanap is now progressing and has even managed to talk and smile at his son.
“Khabib is very strong, his family is very strong and his father is very strong,” Abdelaziz told ESPN. “He’s improving. He opened his eyes, responding a little bit — good sign. Allah is in control. We have faith he will be better, but at the end of the day, it’s completely up to his health whether it progresses or not. But he’s progressing, and we’re very happy about this.”
Nurmagomedov is expected to face Justin Gaethje in a lightweight title unification fight next with reports indicating it could take place at UFC 253 in September. Many observers, though, are uncertain if that fight will go ahead as they believe it all hinges on how Abdulmanap recovers.
As far as Abdelaziz is confirmed though, “The Eagle” is using his father’s situation as motivation more than anything else.
“I think Khabib’s father being sick has motivated him more,” Abdelaziz said. “He’s training every day, two times a day. He’s in camp already. Me and him were talking and I said, ‘Hey, get your mind off, do what you need to do.’ He’s always training. He’s a true mixed martial artist. Same with Gaethje. They are both great guys and they want to fight. It’s a dream fight.”
Abdelaziz notably manages both Nurmagomedov and Gaethje with one fighter looking to face either of them next being Conor McGregor.
The Irishman was recently pushing to fight Gaethje in the summer only to be denied which contributed to his latest retirement. One obstacle was UFC president Dana White who prefers for him to wait for the winner of Nurmagomedov vs. Gaethje.
Another was Gaethje himself who prefers to face Nurmagomedov first despite the amount of money he could make fighting the former two-weight champion in the meantime.
“After Gaethje [defeated Tony Ferguson for the interim belt on May 9], I told him, ‘I’m going to be real with you. If you fight scumbag [McGregor], you’ll probably make a lot more than you’re making [to fight Nurmagomedov].'” Abdelaziz explained. “He said, ‘My parents raised me better. The integrity I have to myself, my family and to this sport is worth more than money.’
“But if Justin wins, Justin might fight him. If Khabib wins, he [McGregor] better go down to 145 pounds … For Khabib to fight Conor again — Khabib has ‘f– you money.’ He doesn’t need another $20 [million] to $30 million. I can’t convince him to fight Conor. Honestly, right now, I don’t think Khabib will give Conor a chance. He’s different, man. It’s principle first, then after that, it becomes money. This guy (McGregor) talked about his father, mother, wife — you want to give this piece of s– another opportunity to do that again? Who would?”
If McGregor does come out of retirement soon, it looks like his next fight may have to come in a different division for the time being.