Having been trained in sambo including both Islam Makhachev and Khabib Nurmagomedov both as a child, Usman is a very skilled grappler. However, Nurmagomedov's striking was what rendered him so threatening because he had also got his education in Muay Thai at a very young age.
With such capabilities, after thrashing Patricky "Pitbull" Freire at Bellator 288, Usman Nurmagomedov has lately been crowned the new lightweight champion of Bellator. He has surpassed each of his opponents throughout the run and still is unbeaten with a record of 16-0 in MMA.
The lightweight Usman Nurmagomedov has lately been referred to as "the Luke Rockhold of Dagestan" by his instructor, Javier Mendez. Throughout his peak, Rockhold was regarded as the finest all-around fighter in MMA due to his mastery of both lethal striking and world-class wrestling. Luke Rockhold’s recent performance against Paulo Costa is a good example for those who are new to this sport.
In a recent interview with Helen Yee, Mendez, who trained both Nurmagomedov and Rockhold at the American Kickboxing Academy, stated:
"He's got it all. He's got the looks, he's got the charisma, the fighting style, he's got the length, the power, the desire. He's the total package. Complete total package. He's probably the Luke Rockhold of Dagestan."
The trademark left high kick of both Luke Rockhold and Usman Nurmagomedov is perhaps the most striking similarity within respective fighting styles. With their left legs, two warriors have demonstrated surgical perfection, and their challengers have avoided it because they are aware of the possible repercussions.
Usman Nurmagomedov might continue to dominate Bellator's lightweight division for many more years to come because of his freshness. The reigning champion, who is just 24 years old, may join the UFC in the coming years.
But he might have to delay his move if UFC offers him a contract as there is ongoing top-level competition in the division which might undermine his legacy. The UFC lightweight title is currently held by his comrade Islam Makhachev and wouldn’t wish to face him for the title shot. Nurmagomedov might wait to make his move until a better opportunity presents itself.