The tragic death of Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, a victim of complications from COVID-19, was undoubtedly a blow to Khabib’s life. Withdrawn from the media after his father’s death, the Russian has yet to comment on the fact and remains unavailable to perform. However, the athlete’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, confirmed that the fighter would play in 2020, in the confrontation against Justin Gaethje, for the unification of the lightweight title (up to 70.3 kg).
“Khabib is not retiring. He still has goals, things he wants to achieve. You will see him before the end of the year. Now he, Dana and I are talking to set a date. I’m sure Dana will make it public that when Khabib is going to fight,” said Ali in an interview with ‘TMZ Sports’.
Also responsible for managing Gaethje’s career, Abdelaziz speaks with excitement about the confrontation between two of his most talented pupils. The businessman talked about the expectation of putting great athletes of today face to face.
“We have a major weight fight. He (Khabib) against Justin Gaethje, two of the best lightweight in the world and the new generation. We saw what Khabib does against his opponents. We saw what Justin Gaethje did with his last four opponents. He took Tony Ferguson apart, made him look like an amateur. They will fight,” he said.
Abdelaziz took the opportunity to update fans on the current condition of Khabib, whose life was shaken by the death of his most significant mentor. According to the agent, the moment is delicate, but the Russian will be able to overcome the difficulty.
“Khabib is a different breed. Of course, your heart is broken. It is your father, your mentor, and your best friend. But in the end, Khabib’s father had a legacy and wanted his son to fulfil it. Khabib is a living legend, and that’s what legends live. They arise from adversity, death, a lot of things,” he concluded.
Before Abdulmanap’s death, the meeting between Khabib and Justin was being negotiated on September 19, at UFC 253. Fatality, however, put the negotiations open. In some recent statements, Ultimate President Dana White intends to give the Russian time to overcome the trauma and feel free to return to work.