Former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was present at the recently conducted Eagle Fighting Championship 36. The city of Kazan hosted the event in association with Tatneft.
Khabib Nurmagomedov posted a message of gratitude to all those who helped make the event successful. He wrote:
"Many thanks to @tatneft_official for organizing and conducting our @eaglefcmma tournament in Kazan. Also, as part of this trip, I visited the city of Almetyevsk, where I met and talked with young athletes and examined the sports complexes of this city. Trust me, we will return to Tatarstan more than once with tournaments, and I also plan to open my own gym in Kazan. See you soon friends." [Translated from Russian via Google Translate]
When did Khabib Nurmagomedov acquire Eagle FC?
Khabib Nurmagomedov retired from active competition in October 2020 after his third title defense against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. It was after retirement that the Russian athlete ventured into acquiring a promotion of his own.
Khabib Nurmagomedov purchased the Russian MMA promotion Gorilla Fighting Championship for $1 million. He renamed the promotion Eagle Fighting Championship.
Khabib Nurmagomedov hopes to transform the Eagle FC into a launchpad of sorts for fighters to venture into the UFC. Khabib Nurmagomedov had a talk with UFC President Dana White about cooperation between the UFC and Eagle FC. He spoke about the same in an interview with RT Sport MMA:
"I wanted to discuss the number of title defenses an EFC fighter needs to get into the UFC. When we sign fighters, we would like the organization to follow them into the UFC. For example, a guy signs for six fights. If he wins and defends his title a few times, we’ll get him a UFC contract, then after he signs we’ll handle his affairs. It’s no secret everyone wants to get into the UFC. Other promotions want their fighters to stay. I don’t want that. I want EFC to be a launchpad into the world stage." [Translation courtesy: RT Sport]
Khabib Nurmagomedov recognizes the fact that UFC is the biggest platform for professional MMA competition. Thus, his goals currently do not include taking over the global MMA stage. However, he does aim to do so in the long run. Khabib Nurmagomedov said:
"A 23-year-old fighter can have six, seven fights, win the title and defend it, then sign with the UFC in just two years. That’s a more realistic short-term goal than looking ahead 10 to 12 years just for a chance to become the best promotion in the world. But we do aim to become one of the best in the world."
Khabib Nurmagomedov had also spoken about striking a deal with Dana White to showcase EFC fights on the UFC Fight Pass, which did come through for the inaugural event of 2021 for the EFC.
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