Muhammad defeated Sean Brady at UFC 280 in a wild second-round finish. He has won eight straight fights and could be one win away from a welterweight title shot.
Muhammad had the luxury of having the UFC Hall of Famer Nurmagomedov in his corner for UFC 280. He trained in Abu Dhabi with Nurmagomedov, Islam Makhachev, and other Dagestani fighters leading up to the pay-per-view.
Nurmagomedov has transitioned seamlessly into his post-fighting career. He is a promoter for Eagle FC and coaches a variety of top fighters such as Makhachev and upcoming Bellator title challenger Usman Nurmagomedov.
Nurmagomedov’s fighting style was well-known by most fans, but his coaching style is a mystery. He’s seen as a vocal presence in fighters’ corners during fights and is respected by his protégés and their adversaries.
Belal Muhammad On Khabib: “He Demands Greatness”
During a recent interview with ESPN’s Marc Raimondi, Muhammad explained Nurmagomedov’s approach to training and coaching MMA.
“We’re maybe the same age, but I looked up to him,” Muhammad said of Nurmagomedov. “So the fact that he’s sitting there teaching me, coaching me…this guy doesn’t understand tired. We’re going from sparring, to grappling, and then he tells me to get in the cage…all of the sudden at the end of it they tell me we have three minutes of planks…bro, I usually overwork…and that’s what I was telling myself I needed to do when I was there. But I needed rest in between, because the practices were so hard, that my body kept breaking down.
“One of the most special things to see is what he demands out of you,” Muhammad continued on Nurmagomedov. “He demands greatness from you. Kobe Bryant would go to the gym at 4 a.m. when other guys were tired…Khabib is the same way. He doesn’t have to be there, he has all the accolades in the world…he’s giving you his time and his knowledge. We’ll do warmups and he’ll be like you guys aren’t pushing hard enough, what are you guys doing? This guy really wants us to achieve our goals and it was really amazing to see, and I’m forever grateful about it.”
Like former NBA star Kobe Bryant, Nurmagomedov left his sport widely regarded as one of the all-time greats. Retiring with his 29-0 undefeated record is a feat seldom seen in modern MMA.
Nurmagomedov’s coaching resulted in another UFC title for his team. Makhachev defeated Charles Oliveira for the vacant lightweight title at UFC 280 via submission.
While Nurmagomedov’s fighting days are likely over, his greatness transitions to helping other fighters achieve their full potential.
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