On Saturday, UFC Lightweight Champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov faces Interim Champion, Justin Gaethje.
The fight will headline UFC 254, and will be a chance for Khabib to extend his record to 29-0.
However, this fight will be a unique one for Khabib, in more ways than one.
Earlier this year, Khabib’s father passed away, due to complications after contracting Covid-19. Abdulmanap had been Khabib’s mentor his entire career, and had cornered as many of his fights as possible, alongside his head coach, Javier Mendez.
Saturday will be the first time Khabib fights since the passing of his father, and he has become tired with the media asking about the impact of not having him around.
His cousin, Umar was also scheduled to fight on the same card on Saturday, and had been preparing with Khabib and his team. However, last week it was confirmed that Umar was out, due to a staphylococcus infection that led to flu-like symptoms. Umar was hospitalised and Khabib relocated his preparations.
Today, Khabib posted some images from his training camp, stating that “it was a hard training camp, both physically and mentally”.
It’ll be interesting to see what effect, if any, his current circumstances have on him.
His opponent, Gaethje is coming off an impressive TKO victory over Tony Ferguson, and will be looking to be the first man to defeat Khabib inside the octagon.