The rest of the MMA community got a chance to see Khabib Nurmagomedov, the coach, at UFC 280. Beginning with his cousin Abubakar, Belal Muhammad, and of course, Islam Makhachev, who ultimately won the vacant lightweight title, "The Eagle" went 3-0 with his boxers over the weekend. Other elite fighters were aware of Khabib's impressive coaching run. Muhammad had the opportunity to chat with ESPN about how training camp went under Khabib's direction after he defeated Sean Brady by TKO to end the preliminary bouts.
“This guy doesn’t understand tired. We’re going from sparring to grappling, and then he tells me ‘Come in the cage’ and he’s putting me on the fence and taking me down at will and just, like, drowning me,” he told Marc Raimondi.
“I’m sitting there dead and all of a sudden at the end of it, they’re like, ‘Well, OK, you got three minutes of planks.’ I’m sitting there, dripping, I look to my right and I see Islam there. He tells me, ‘Khabib does not know tired.’
“There needs to be some rest in between because the practices are so hard that my body ended up breaking down halfway through.”
Because of his talent for getting the greatest performance out of the athletes he trains, Muhammad continued by equating Khabib with another legendary sports personality.
“He demands greatness from you. I just watched (The Redeem Team) and how Kobe Bryant would go to the gym at 4 AM and it made the other guys work that much harder.
“Khabib is the same way where you want to do extra for him. You want to push yourself much harder for him because he doesn’t have to be there. He’s got all the money in the world, he’s got all the accolades in the world, he’s been a champion.
“He’s accomplished it all, but he’s giving you his time, his knowledge. Even when we’d do warm-ups and he’d tell us, ‘You guys aren’t pushing hard enough. What are you guys doing? You gotta do it again.’ So we have to go again.
“There’ll be some guys that’ll come in tired, and he’ll take their phone from them at night, and he’ll be like, ‘You need to go to sleep on time."
Muhammad earned a $50K bonus for Performance of the Night and increased his record to 22-3 (1 NC) following UFC 280.