Daniel Cormier reveals which UFC prospect had the most impressive debut in 2021

Daniel Cormier (left); Nurmagomedov vs. Morozov (right)
Daniel Cormier (left); Nurmagomedov vs. Morozov (right)

On an edition of ESPN MMA's DC & RC Podcast, Daniel Cormier asserted that while many notable prospects made their promotional debuts for the UFC this year, it was 25-year-old Umar Nurmagomedov who impressed the most.

On that note, Daniel Cormier – an MMA legend and widely-revered MMA analyst – highlighted the significance of having a “clean” performance inside the octagon.

Cormier indicated that prospects like Paddy Pimblett and Ian Garry were victorious in their respective UFC debuts, but their performances weren’t as defensively sound as that of Umar Nurmagomedov.

Speaking in reference to Umar Nurmagomedov’s dominant UFC debut – his second round submission win over Sergey Morozov at UFC on ESPN: Chiesa vs. Magny in January 2021 – Daniel Cormier stated:

“That’s the guy that had the most impressive debut for a prospect. But I forgot about it. Like John said on ABC, it seems so far away. But you remember, Ryan. You remember Umar Nurmagomedov, right? Yes. Him taking the guy down, and choking him out; the whole thing, right? I made my debut better than Khabib [Nurmagomedov]. That’s the performance. That’s the one. And guess what? He was clean. That’s the performance for me that I’m gonna say was the most elite prospect debut in the UFC.”

Watch Daniel Cormier praise Umar Nurmagomedov for his impressive UFC debut in the video below:


Akin to Daniel Cormier, Khabib Nurmagomedov too was in awe of Umar Nurmagomedov’s UFC debut

Umar Nurmagomedov is the cousin of MMA legend and former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Both Umar and Khabib train alongside Daniel Cormier at the AKA (American Kickboxing Academy) gym in San Jose, California, in addition to also training in their native Dagestan.

Many have touted Umar Nurmagomedov as a future UFC champion. During an octagon interview after his UFC debut win over Sergey Morozov, the undefeated bantamweight prospect was joined by Khabib Nurmagomedov himself.

‘The Eagle’ partook in the interview and praised Umar for making an even more impressive debut than his back in 2012. Khabib said:

“Nine years ago, this day, 20th January 2012, I beat my opponent like this, with this choke. But, I did it in third round, and he did in second round.”

Umar Nurmagomedov is scheduled to compete in his second UFC fight, a bantamweight bout against Jack Shore at UFC Fight Night 205 on March 19th.

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Edited by Josh Evanoff
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