Khabib Nurmagomedov's father recovers from coronavirus but 'condition is still serious' as UFC star prepares for return

Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, who also coaches his son, was taken to hospital in April with pneumonia symptoms

Khabib Nurmagomedov says his father remains in intensive care despite having overcome Covid-19, as the UFC lightweight champion continues his preparations for a return to the octagon this autumn.

Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, who also coaches his son, was taken to hospital in April when he was first believed to be suffering from pneumonia. However, he was transferred from Dagestan to the military hospital in Moscow after his condition worsened.

Last month, Russian media reported Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, 57, was in a coma after undergoing a heart bypass.

His son later provided an update on social media, and speaking to Channel One Russia offered some more news again this week.

Khabib Nurmagomedov said: “Now father’s condition is still serious. He is in intensive care. The coronavirus is gone, but the infection has left consequences on the kidneys and on the heart. Now, the virus is gone.

“I come to hospital. He recognises me, but there is no [verbal] communication, because he is under the hospital devices. Every day, I visit him for half an hour, hold his hand, talk, he gestures to understand that he recognises me.”

Although his father’s condition remains serious, Nurmagomedov said he had full faith in the medical staff looking after him.

“I am sure of the doctors, they are one of the best in the world, I have no doubt,” he said. “Thanks so much for everything they do. In this regard, everything is very good. It just takes time, because the consequences are very difficult and the rehabilitation period will be difficult and long.”

Nurmagomedov said he was still in training for his next fight, a unification bout against interim champion Justin Gaethje. The clash is expected to take place in either September or October, with Abu Dhabi emerging as "frontrunner" to host.

The capital strengthened its ties with UFC this month, when it was announced as the location for the inaugural Fight Island, a four-event series taking place on Yas Island next month.

Nurmagomedov’s last competitive outing came in Abu Dhabi, when he defeated then-interim titleholder Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 last September. It took the Dagestan native’s professional record to 28-0.

“I prepare, I train every day because I know that my father would like me to be in good shape,” Nurmagomedov said. “My father would definitely not like that I miss training because of him, of which I am sure.

“Training helps me relieve stress [and] distract from everything. We’ll go back in the autumn and defend our title.”

Mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov and and his father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov give a press conference in Moscow on November 26, 2018. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)