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Khabib Nurmagomedov calls 2020 'hardest year' of his life; Unsure about how he will feel inside the cage at UFC 254

Khabib Nurmagomedov is set to defend his title against elite KO artist Justin Gaethje at UFC 254
Khabib Nurmagomedov is set to defend his title against elite KO artist Justin Gaethje at UFC 254
Johny Payne
CONTRIBUTOR
Modified 22 Oct 2020, 07:34 IST
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Speaking to ESPN, reigning UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov suggested that he’s unsure about how he will feel inside the cage during his UFC 254 fight against Justin Gaethje.

Nurmagomedov asserted that 2020 has been the hardest year of his life. The Eagle also opens up on how he is feeling about the mental and physical aspects of his health.

Khabib Nurmagomedov suffered a family tragedy this year

Khabib Nurmagomedov received training in combat sports from his father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, during his childhood. The Eagle has often credited his father for having trained him and introduced him to the world of MMA, particularly in the grappling arts such as wrestling and Sambo.

Abdulmanap was a respected figure in the world of MMA. He had trained several talented fighters, predominantly from Russia.

He was at Khabib’s side during the fight against Dustin Poirier in September of 2019. The Eagle dominated and stopped Poirier via submission in round three.

Abdulmanap underwent heart surgery earlier this year. However, he contracted the coronavirus, and the doctors had to place him in a medically induced coma in May. Unfortunately, his condition deteriorated and he passed away in July of this year. Condolences poured in from all corners of the MMA world for the Nurmagomedov family, with Khabib expressing his gratitude for the kind words and support displayed by the fans.

Khabib Nurmagomedov road to UFC 254 has not been easy

In the interview with ESPN, Khabib Nurmagomedov noted that 2020 has been tough, particularly with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting several aspects of everyone’s lives.

Khabib, in the YouTube videos put forth by the UFC’s official channel, has extensively spoken about how the COVID-19 pandemic adversely affected his training schedules this year.

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In his ESPN interview, the UFC Lightweight Champion addressed the challenges he’s had to face this year and stated:

“This was hardest year in my life…Who knows how I’m gonna feel inside the cage?” 
“Physically I feel great. Mentally, I feel great, but (this is the) first time I’m going to have this hard situation when I go the cage.”

Furthermore, Nurmagomedov explained that he truly wants to compete against Justin Gaethje and is eager to get inside the cage.

The Eagle added that he’s looking forward to defending his title.

What are your views on Khabib Nurmagomedov’s statements? Sound off in the comments.

Published 22 Oct 2020, 07:34 IST
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