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'This is about your mind' - Khabib Nurmagomedov talks about how hard he spars in training

Khabib Nurmagomedov at AKA
Khabib Nurmagomedov at AKA
Johny Payne
Modified 20 Jan 2021

Khabib Nurmagomedov has shed light upon his hard sparring, highlighting that mental toughness is essential in hard training and sparring.

Reigning UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov retired from MMA in October 2020 but has not yet been stripped of his title. UFC president Dana White has been attempting to persuade Nurmagomedov to return to MMA, but The Eagle’s MMA comeback status remains shrouded in secrecy.

Speaking to his AKA (American Kickboxing Academy) teammate Mike Swick on the Real Quick With Mike Swick Podcast, Khabib Nurmagomedov opened up on his hard training style:

“Not too many people like training hard, you know. And you know, sometimes like, when you try sparring with somebody and they talk about, ‘oh, you go so hard’. But I didn’t go hard with you. You know like, this is what I do all my life. But I don’t smash you. I don’t give you injuries, nothing, but I just push you. You know, you have to understand. You come here for what; for fun? You don’t need to come here for fun. You have to find a different place for fun, you know. This is AKA, you know. We train here like this. Here’s a lot of fighters, you know, like high-level fighters. And you have to follow this; hard training, hard training.” Khabib Nurmagomedov reiterated.
“Sometimes, like two weeks ago, I was sparring with one guy, like after the second round he talked about, ‘oh, my neck’. I talked about that – ‘This is not about your neck. This is about your mental. You have to stay here. You have a three-round fight coming. You have to stay here. You have to fight. I’m not going to smash you, but your fight is coming. You have to push your conditioning. This is not about your weight or something. This is about your mind. Hey, stay focused. It’s okay. Stay relaxed. You have to go one more round.’” (*H/T Sportskeeda for the transcription)

Additionally, Khabib Nurmagomedov explained that in the aforementioned example, AKA head coach Javier Mendez agreed with him and advised the sparring partner to fight through the third round. Nurmagomedov pointed out that he didn’t hurt the sparring partner but rather pushed his conditioning to the limit and made him tired.

Khabib Nurmagomedov believes a fighter shouldn’t be one’s own coach

Khabib Nurmagomedov (left); Mike Swick (right)
Khabib Nurmagomedov (left); Mike Swick (right)

Khabib Nurmagomedov emphasized that staying loyal to your coaches and the gym you train at is essential.


Furthermore, Khabib Nurmagomedov explained that some fighters don’t like the hard training and hard sparring he and Swick are accustomed to at AKA. Nurmagomedov asserted that he believes some fighters pursue comfort and resort to methods such as being one’s own coach.

Khabib Nurmagomedov said that these methods – such as fighters trying to be their own coach – don’t work. The Eagle reiterated that fighters either thrive in the hard training style at AKA or give up and leave AKA.

Published 20 Jan 2021, 05:04 IST
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