When Khabib Nurmagomedov takes to the Octagon to fight Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, he will already be doing so without his father. However he will also apparently be doing so without training at AKA, either.
After the tragic death of his father fans were wondering if we may never see Khabib Nurmagomedov fight again. However that was proven to be a false concern, as it was announced that his bout with Justin Gaethje, which was expected to take place in September, was still going down, albeit in October instead. While he was clearly grieving, it was exciting to see that he was focused on moving on with his fighting career.
Khabib Nurmagomedov Will Not Train At AKA
Although Khabib Nurmagomedov was coached by his father in large part, he spends most of his time training at American Kickboxing Academy, in California. However, according to AKA head coach Javier Mendez, in a recent interview, this will not be the case for UFC 254. Apparently the lightweight champion is concerned with the amount of COVID-19 cases in California, so he refuses to train there.
“We’ve got two choices [for the fight], right? Las Vegas or Fight Island [Yas Island, Abu Dhabi],'” Mendez told ESPN. “I’m thinking Fight Island, but they haven’t said it yet. What I do know is that [COVID-19] is too high in California, and Khabib is not comfortable coming here to train.”
That being said, Javier said that he has been speaking with Khabib. Although he says that the Dageatani fighter is still very much coming to terms with what happened, he says Nurmagomedov is doing well. Now the focus is on the legacy that his father wanted for him.
“I did speak to him for the first time two weeks ago, and he’s still going through missing his father,” Mendez told ESPN. “Rightfully so. The way they were connected, his father was pretty much his everything. Having his father’s blessing gave him that power to go out and do what he needed to do. Everything his father wanted him to do, Khabib would go out and accomplish it. Now, he doesn’t have that. So, he’s gotta focus on the legacy his father wanted for him.”
There is something to the idea that it is concerning that Khabib Nurmagomedov is not working with his father or his team for this fight. It makes the fight with Justin Gaethje all the more intriguing.