MAKHACHKALA, September 12. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin met with UFC Reigning Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and his father and coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov at the airport of Makhachkala in Dagestan.
The famed MMA fighter and his father arrived at the airport to see the Russian president off following his visit to the North Caucasus republic of Dagestan on Thursday.
Last Saturday, Nurmagomedov defended his champion’s belt in a title unification bout in Abu Dhabi against Dustin Poirier of the United States. The Russian defeated his US opponent with a submission in Round 3.
Putin warmly greeted the champion and gave hearty hugs to Khabib and his father Abdulmanap. Head of Dagestan Vladimir Vasilyev, who was also present at the meeting, did the same.
"I would like to congratulate you on your son’s victory," Putin said addressing Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. "It was a decent fight and he is a strong and powerful fighter."
The president said it was a convincing victory and turning to Khabib he noted: "I congratulate you, it was a good fight, a beautiful one and an honest one."
"I saw a very good submission, a classical choke and you were not applying pressure on his throat," Putin continued. "No, really I saw that you applied pressure from both sides, the way it is supposed to be. It was fair."
The fighter shared with Putin his own emotions after the previous fight saying that his father was only one meter away from the cage and it was possible to talk to him. According to the fighter, after the bout was over his friends, who were there watching the fight and saw the winning submission, asked Khabib what he was talking about with his father.
"You spoke with your father and he told you to ‘finish’ him?" Khabib said laughing.
Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov added that throughout the bout he kept recommending his son not to fuss around.
The fighter also told Putin about the tactics he used in each round of the bout and complained in particular that "in Round Two I lingered a little bit in the standing stance and let a punch sink in [from the opponent]."
After that, Khabib continued, he realized that it was high time for active measures.
"This is right, because you must use your competitive advantages without letting your opponent do the same," Putin remarked.
Nurmagomedov also said that although he was of the same height with Dustin Poirier, he initially thought the US fighter would be taller and bigger.
"Then I saw that he was smaller, felt during clinches that he was also yielding in physical strength and I thought that I had to take on him in the Ground and Pound," Khabib said adding that at some point he opted for a crafty trick.
"I decided to yield a little bit of the neck to make him go for a choke," the fighter said.
"This is very dangerous," Putin commented on Khabib’s words. "You could simply not see it coming and then ‘fall asleep’."
Khabib nodded in agreement adding that, "When you finally wake up the fight is already over."
Nurmagomedov, hailing from Russia’s North Caucasus region of Dagestan, was the first Russian to win the UFC champion title during the fight against his US opponent Al Iaquinta in spring of 2018.
The 30-year-old Russian fighter, nicknamed ‘The Eagle,’ currently holds an unblemished record of 28 wins in all of his mixed martial arts fights (8 by KOs, 10 by submission and 10 by decision).
On April 8, 2018, Nurmagomedov defeated Al Iaquinta in a five-round bout for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight belt in New York.
At the UFC 229 tournament in Las Vegas on the night of October 6, 2018, Nurmagomedov defended his champion’s title in the fight against famous Irish professional mixed martial arts fighter and boxer, Conor McGregor. The Russian defeated McGregor with a choke in the 4th round of the fight.