“He Is Very Hungry” – Khabib Nurmagomedov Reveals Why Saygid Izagakhmaev Is Destined for Success in ONE Championship

Published 01/11/2022, 7:28 AM EST


Khabib Nurmagomedov is confident that his close friend Saygid Izagakhmaev joined ONE Championship to take his skill set to the next level. 

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The mixed martial arts legend who retired with a 29-0 record spoke ahead of his training partner’s debut against James Nakashima at ONE: HEAVY HITTERS on Friday, 14 January. 

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“I really – and truly believe – with ONE Championship, he’s going to improve a lot. The next couple years with ONE Championship is going to be very interesting for him,” the 33-year-old Russian said. 

“I grew up with Saygid for almost 15 years. He began training with my father when he was very young, and I know him very well. And he [is] always focused, and he [is] a hard trainer. I really like how he [has] improved a lot in the last couple of years.” 

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Nurmagomedov’s late father was the man who guided Izagakhmaev throughout his early years. Eventually, the former UFC Lightweight World Champion honed that foundation through countless training hours with ONE’s latest lightweight signing. 

Though their fight style draws similarities, “The Eagle” pointed out that the fighting pride of Makhachkala could be a far more talented competitor than he ever was.  

“We have a little bit similar fighting style like grappling, wrestling, like clinch, how we move, how we use our body, hips on the ground, but he’s a little bit taller than me, and he has good Thai boxing, good technique,” the Dagestani native said. 

“Saygid’s style is very dangerous because he’s tall. He has a long reach with his legs and arms. You know he has excellent elbows, has good clinch, and of course, he’s outstanding on [the] ground game and grappling like all guys from our school.” 

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Being one of the main coaches throughout Izagakhmaev’s training camp, Nurmagomedov knows the Dagestani grappling sensation should leave the Circle with his 20th career MMA win on Friday night. 

However, he refused to predict the fight’s outcome. Instead, he believes that his ward will be a stern opponent for the American wrestling star. 

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“I think he’s very hungry. This is very important in this game,” he offered. 

“You have to be hungry, and I feel like he is very hungry. There are a lot of other reasons why Saygid is a very dangerous opponent.” 

Download the ONE Super App to catch all the action from ONE: HEAVY HITTERS.

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Fans in India can watch the show live on Disney+ Hotstar or Star Sports Select 2, beginning with the lead card at 3:30 p.m. India Standard Time (IST) on Friday, 14 January. 

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Arman Khan

238 articles

Arman Khan is a UFC author for EssentiallySports. He began following combat sports when Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor competed in 'The Money Fight' in 2017. 'The Notorious' attracted Arman to the UFC, and he became an ardent fan of professional fighting as he could draw parallels with the action from his combat sports experience and break down techniques such as striking and striking defense lucidly for the casual fans.

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