Who is Umar Nurmagomedov? Meet the cousin of Khabib who is set to make his UFC debut on Fight Island 8 card
A member of the Nurmagomedov family will set foot inside the cage tonight – but it won't be Khabib.
The UFC's second show of their triple-header week in Abu Dhabi will mark the long-awaited debut of featherweight prospect Umar Nurmagomedov.
Umar – the cousin of the promotion's undefeated lightweight champion Khabib – will be welcomed to the octagon by Kazakhstan's Sergey Morozov, whom he'll meet in the UFC Fight Island 8 prelims.
Like his cousin, Umar, 25, has yet to taste defeat in his professional mixed martial arts career.
Twelve men have tried to defeat the Dagestani, although none of them have even come close to upsetting him.
Umar has beaten six of his opponents by way of unanimous decision, with five of his other wins coming courtesy of rear-naked chokes.
Although they share the same blood, boast unbeaten records and are equally as devoted to their family and religion, the similarities between Umar and Khabib end there.
Stylistically, they're completely different fighters, as their head coach Javier Mendez explained to SunSport.
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The American Kickboxing Academy coach said: "[He's got] great striking and great kicking. That they [fans] can expect. It's a whole different flair. A whole different flair.
"You can expect to see everything from him. But one thing that is going to be different is – Khabib's boxing has gotten on fairly well.
"I mean Khabib's boxing has gotten pretty good. Umar's kicking is phenomenal. So you can expect to see more kicking [from him]. He's a phenomenal kicker.
"He's great on the ground, he's got good boxing, but he's a phenomenal kicker.
"So that's one of the things you'll notice a difference in between him and Khabib. Umar can kick."
Umar's octagon bow was supposed to take place last October at UFC 254, the same card his cousin announced his retirement from mixed martial arts.
A bout of mumps, however, prevented the former Professional Fighters League standout from competing on the card.
Mendez recalled: "He was out because he got the mumps.
"A whole bunch of fighters got the mumps. Islam Makhachev got the mumps. When we went to Vegas he got it.
"I guess it lingers, right? Like you don't get it right away. Sometimes you get it a month later or a week later. A lot of the fighters got annihilated.
"These mumps and some of the staph [infection] going around. The staph [infection] wasn't as big of a deal, but the mumps was.
"It destroyed a lot of these guy's fights. So yeah, that's what happened to Umar, is the mumps."
Mendez is hoping Umar will have a busy 2021, adding: "I would like him to have at least three times this year.
"But Ramadan is going to come into effect, so he might only be able to get two. But I would like three."
It goes without saying that Mendez has high hopes for Umar, although he admits he doesn't want him to be fast-tracked to title contention."
He said: "I would like to see him in his third year with the UFC compete for a title shot."
Although UFC fans have yet to get to know Umar, Mendez believes it's only a matter of time before they warm to him the same way they have to Khabib.
He said: "This kid is humble, super-nice kid, super respectful. [He's] as devoted to his religion, his country and his family as Khabib. He's just very quiet, he's not outspoken.
"Khabib is very whitty. Umar is very quiet and nice. People will love him because he's just a nice, nice, nice person. People are going to love him for that reason.
"But he's a fierce fighter, a fierce fighter. But as a person, his personality, super, super nice."
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