Home/UFC

via Imago

Rumors are swirling around that Khabib Nurmagomedov will make a return to the UFC. The former UFC Champion himself has been dropping hints about being in Islam Makhachev‘s corner for his upcoming UFC 302 fight against Dustin PoirierWith the fight a little more than 10 days away, Javier Mendez revealed how Nurmagomedov is preparing Makhachev for the big fight.

They are gearing up against the guillotine choke, which is one of the strongest moves by Poirier and Nurmagomedov is coaching his friend and pupil in the ways his father had taught them, famously labelled as “father’s plan.” Javier Mendez recorded their dedication to training recently and uploaded it on Instagram while praising “The Eagle.”

The Instagram video uploaded by Mendez showed all the members of his team training diligently. Nurmagomedov was advising his fellow teammates while Makhachev was resting from the practice. Mendez wrote in the caption, “Father’s plan legacy continues.” In the video, Mendez was seen complimenting the retired champion by saying, “Great coach, a great fighter, great human being, everybody lucky to have him.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Javier Mendez (@akajav)

But what is the “father’s plan” that Mendez talked about? Well, the answer lies in Nurmagomedov’s Dagestani roots. The Dagestan region is renowned for producing wrestlers efficient in combat sambo. The style involves grappling majorly and Khabib was trained by his father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, in combat sambo. During fights, whenever the former UFC Champion would stand and exchange blows, he was immediately asked by Mendez to follow the “father’s plan,” which meant getting the opponent down and grapple.

A few years ago, AKA’s YouTube channel posted a video, where Mendez talked in detail about the “father’s plan.” He explained, “You always hear me say, ‘Father’s plan!,’ because I don’t want [Khabib Nurmagomedov] deciding that he wants to stand with these guys, even though you know how good his stand-up is.”

“But I don’t allow him to do it, and his father doesn’t allow him to do it. The two most important people that are his coaches won’t allow him… we don’t go out there and give blood if we don’t have to. Give as little blood as possible. The win is the most important thing.” For those who followed Khabib, it was a common sight to see Mendez instructing him to follow “father’s plan” during fights. And it looks like Islam Makhachev is getting trained in the same fashion.

This isn’t the first time the coach has openly commended The Eagle’s leadership skills. While he was himself stuck in Dubai due to natural calamities, he wrote in a caption to a video he uploaded, “Team is under control when Coach @khabib_nurmagomedov is leading the team.” It seems like Khabib Nurmagomedov is following in the footsteps of his father, who was the man behind his and Dagestan’s UFC legacy and only making the Dagestani Camp stronger. The video had glimpses of notable UFC fighters, Islam Makhachev, Umar Nurmagomedov, and Tagir Ulanbekov, alongside others, wherein while two trained in the cage with few others around, others took to the gym and the punching bags. 

Meanwhile, the Makhachev-Poirier fight could see the return of “The Eagle” to the octagon after he retired from his coaching role in 2022. After the demise of his father, Khabib retired with a 29-0 record in 2020, but took up a mentor role for Islam Makhachev and accompanied him to a few of his fights, the last of which came at UFC 282, when Makhachev defeated Charles Oliviera. Khabib stated his desire to spend more time with his family as a reason for him to step away. But in the build up to UFC 302, the scenario has changed.

A few weeks ago, Nurmagomedov posted an Instagram story featuring the UFC 302 poster with airplane emojis leading to speculation of his return. Even earlier, he posted a photo on Instagram where he was helping out Makhachev and added a caption, “33 days before the fight. Lets go my Brother @islam_makhachev #ufc302 #LightweightChamp.” 

It is not just Mendez who is proud of Nurmagomedov and the Dagestani fighters, as Joe Rogan also heaped a plethora of praises on the Russian champion. He was impressed by both Makhachev and Nurmagomedov’s dedication to their craft and the zeal to continue what Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov had started in their childhood. The method they learned from their late coach is a complex array of exercises aimed at developing techniques of endurance, impact during attacks, and strategic thinking.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Nurmagomedov believed in working in the stalls while everything else was secondary to him. This is how the Dagestani fighters are training currently and gearing up for the upcoming fight. Lauding ‘The Eagle’ and the other Dagestani fighters, Joe Rogan recently discussed their discipline in one of the episodes of his podcast with Royce Gracie, while also reflecting on their secret to achieving greatness.

“Not thinking about any of that,” Joe Rogan revealed the secret to Nurmagomedov’s success

During JRE MMA Show #156, Rogan discussed the countries that have produced some of the greatest UFC fighters and, without a doubt, he mentioned Russia as the top one. The podcaster and color commentator hailed the dedication of Russian wrestlers and believed that they were extremely disciplined. Royce Gracie also chimed in and added that it was not just the Dagestani wrestling style that made them invincible but it was also their perseverance and focus on the craft.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Gracie added, “There’s no girlfriend or wife. They’re not thinking about any of that!” Rogan also pointed out that they did not even party, and the only thing the fighters concentrated on was their routine of eating, sleeping, and training. 

With all the rigorous training for UFC 302 under one of the greatest fighters of all time, do you think Makhachev can defeat Poirier and make his friend and coach proud? Drop your predictions for UFC 302 in the comments below.