Undefeated UFC world champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has applauded Abu Dhabi for staging five top-class mixed martial arts competitions in a month.
The capital hosted four UFC fight nights on Yas Island and the UAE Warriors 12 at Zayed Sports City last Friday, all conducted under strict Covid-19 safety measures.
Khabib watched a dramatic 10-fight card Warriors night, which included his cousin, Usman Nurmagomedov, securing a first round TKO over Jerry Kvarnstrom, from ringside.
The Russian, the UFC's lightweight champion who boasts a professional MMA record of 28 straight wins, was full of praise for the efforts of the organisation to invite and receive competitors while following precautionary measures, quarantining them in a hotel, providing training facilities and transportation, conducting regular medical tests and offering appropriate services over more than three weeks.
“The UAE is continuing to impress the world by organising UAE Warriors during the current circumstances that pose significant challenges, especially in light of the suspension of international sporting activities due to the coronavirus pandemic,” Khabib said.
UFC president Dana White told The National last month that Khabib's next fight would take place in Abu Dhabi. Since then, it has been confirmed that the unbeaten Russian will face Justin Gaethje on October 24 in a lightweight unification bout.
Khabib is poised to link-up with Javier Mendez after his father and coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov died in July after contracting Covid-19.
Khabib revealed on Twitter that he will be working with Mendez at the American Kickboxing Academy in preparation for the Gaethje fight.
Mendez already has close ties with the Dagestani native, who along with Abdulmanap was in Khabib's corner when the champion defended his title against Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 last year in Abu Dhabi. Khabib beat the American via second-round submission.