Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov makes for quite a good interview.
When he’s not talking about the need for ‘the spirit of the mountains’ in order to excel at wrestling, Abdulmanap, who coaches his son Khabib, takes every chance to skewer lightweight title challenger Conor McGregor in an interview with Alexander Lyutikov of Stavka TV.
Lyutikov tees up some interesting questions, not shying away from topics like the hotly-disputed beginning to Khabib’s fight against Michael Johnson in 2016, where the Dagestani monster appeared to be wobbled.
Abdulmanap bats away each potential pitfall for his son though, even getting in a dig at Nate Diaz in the process.
“I think Conor understands that he wasn’t the real champion”, the elder Nurmagomedov said when asked why he thought the Irishman took the fight against Khabib.
“When he took the belt there were six lightweights that were stronger than him, including three of mine – Khabib, Islam Makhachev and Rustam Khabilov.
“Nate Diaz [is a more lucrative fight for Conor]? No. Do people still think that he is a top fighter? He is fake. Makhachev will make Nate Diaz look like a baby in that fight. McGregor won’t earn the same money in any other fight. He knows that five rounds against Khabib is a nightmare.
“Physically and tactically, Khabib is stronger than Conor. We will choke him out when we decide to do it We will respect our fans – if they want to watch five rounds they will get it. What does he have other than a punchers’ chance? Nothing.”
He also challenged McGregor’s wrestling coach, Sergey Pikulskiy of the Moldovian national team, to a match, and wrote off Conor’s chances of matching Khabib’s takedown attempts.
“So what [if he’s been training since the Mayweather fight]? Does he have high-class wrestling skills? No”, he continued.
“Those long arms, his waist is good for women’s figure skating. He can’t compete with that level of wrestling.
“He can be dangerous for the first 8 or 9 minutes, and no more. After two rounds he has nothing left on the feet. He is not the one to make us answer for the situation with Lobov.”
Finally, he stated what he believed would happen if camp member and fellow UFC lightweight Rashid Magomedov decided to get off the bus and confront the Notorious one on that fateful day in April.
“I believe that it would be very sad for Conor. Our guys will not think about who he is and where it happens. They will act quickly and attack.”
With an 18-strong entourage accompanying Khabib for the fight, another pre-fight confrontation may be on the cards.