KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV will follow in his late father’s footsteps by moving into coaching to continue his dad’s legacy, according to his US-based trainer.
Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov died last week in a Moscow hospital after complications from coronavirus.
The 57-year-old suffered a heart attack and pneumonia following his positive test for Covid-19.
Khabib’s father played an instrumental role in his rise to the very top of MMA.
And it is now unclear what effect the tragic loss of his dad will have on the UFC lightweight champion’s career, with his defence against Justin Gaethje in September now under threat.
But his kickboxing coach Javier Mendez reckons the long-term plan for the Russian is to go into coaching.
Mendez has not spoken directly to Khabib about his plans since his father’s passing but told SiriusXM: “Khabib always said more or less he was going to do what his father wanted him to do.
“It was up to father, father decides if he continues to fight or not, to let him know when it’s done. Everything he did was based on his father’s approval.
“Whatever he wants to do, I’m behind him because he needs support in any capacity I can give him.
“If he wants to fight, I’m with him, if he wants to retire, I’m with him. I’ll support whatever decision he makes as long as I feel it’s the right decision for him, if I don’t then I’ll speak out about it. It’s hard what to speculate, I haven’t spoken to him.
“I know one thing, (Khabib’s) carrying on with the legacy of his father and being a great coach himself.
“He’s already doing that, he’s been doing that for the past four or five years, helping coach Islam (Makhachev) and other up-and-coming stars.”
Mendez added on Abdulmanap: “He had built up a monster roster that’s coming through, and I’ve been privileged to be part of that.
“He’s got an army of people he coached, he’s an icon, he’s got a legacy he’ll leave behind.
“He did so much and was working on so much more to branch out his style around the world, bringing his knowledge. He was always working to bring more martial arts worldwide.”
Abdulmanap was laid to rest last weekend in his native village of Kirovaul – where he lived for part of his life.
And the head of the village, Magomedrasul Davudov, confirmed plans to change its name.
He said: “We are now in mourning. Later we will gather with the residents and rename the village from Kirovaul to Manap.”
Khabib’s rival Conor McGregor was among many within the UFC community to share his condolences and send best wishes to Khabib and his family.
The Notorious said: “The loss of a father, a coach, and a dedicated supporter of the sport. Condolences and rest in peace Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov.”
And UFC chief Dana White described how the trainer led “a life of pride, honour and respect”.