29-year-old UFC featherweight Zubaira Tukhugov recently gave an interview to RT Sport. He opens up about his friendship with fellow countryman Khabib Nurmagomedov.
He talks about how he thought of standing shoulder to shoulder with The Eagle. Tukhugov explains how he met Khabib in Russia. However, it was his third fight that led to their friendship. Tukhugov’s first fight in the United States at UFC Fight Night: Namajunas vs VanZant.
“It was my first one in the United States and also my first time in the United States. Khabib was training somewhere in San Francisco. He knew that I had a fight coming up. I didn’t even know he was in the U.S. He simply came to support me while I was cutting weight in Las Vegas.”- Zubaira Tukhugov
After becoming acquaintances, it was a pleasant surprise to Tukhugov to meet Khabib. Tukhugov claims Khabib came out to Las Vegas to support him and help him to prepare for his fight.
“He didn’t even call me. He just showed up. Khabib just comes into the locker room. It was very surprising and nice. He says, ‘I came to support you. Help you cut weight.’ I had my coach and one of my friends with me. So I could’ve used some support. Khabib came and genuinely helped me. I’d hear him encourage me.”- Zubaira Tukhugov
Over the course of years, their friendship has only grown. So much so that Tukhugov was one of the first to pick up a fight for Khabib following his win over Conor McGregor at UFC 229.
Tukhugov admitted to slapping McGregor during the brawl that took place after their fight.
“I slapped him as promised. I promised to make him answer for his words and I did.”- Zubaira Tukhugov
Tukhugov was identified as one of the men who jumped into the octagon after the fight. Khabib took to social media following the incident and posted a picture where Tukhugov was visible. The picture was captioned, “Just love this (sic) guys. #Brothers.”
Tukhugov is coming off of a win against Kevin Aguilar. Tukhugov took the win by knockout, three and a half minutes into the first round. The fight took place on 23rd February.
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