Eugene Bareman would love to see Khabib Nurmagomedov and his team go back to their old ways.
Baremen, the head coach of many top fighters including UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, isn’t usually the type to call someone out for anything. One of his fighters, Brad Riddell, is set to face Rafael Fiziev in the main co-event of the UFC Vegas 44 event this Saturday. When asked where Riddell is in the lightweight title photo, Bareman felt Riddell might have a better chance of winning the title than Islam Makhachev – before noting that he lost some respect for Makhachev, Nurmagomedov and the rest of his team.
“Khabib talks more about other fighters than anyone and I’m disappointed to see that,” Bareman told Submission Radio. “Because to me he was a guy who, oh man, this guy is still a purist. It’s not in his DNA. But now you see him getting rid of the fighters, and then Makhachev does the same. It has never been part of their sports culture. They had their own unique place in the sport. Now they are like everyone else. Khabib talks as much bullshit as everyone else. He used to respect all fighters. He respected all the fighters a lot. Identical to Makhachev. I heard that maybe their manager controls their Twitter. But then, they’re still stupid to let the manager control their Twitter.
“I love the old people, I love the way they were, before they became all Hollywood. They had their own culture. It was theirs. They weren’t trying to be American. They brought in. a real sport advantage that’s missing at the top, missing at the top because it’s so ruthless. But to see them now just Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, blah, blah, blah, ‘no good, this guy is here to a paycheck this guy is there for that this guy ain’t good you all shit you should ‘don’t fight it you don’t deserve’. Like, do your thing. And how they do their thing is, they just fight until you can’t say no anymore. And that was the thing I respected. That’s it. “
There is still a great deal of respect Bareman has for Nurmagomedov and his fighters, and seems to understand what fame and stardom can potentially do for the mentality and attitude of professional athletes.
In Bareman’s eyes. while some can navigate these rough waters very well, it reaches most others – Nurmagomedov included.
“When I say habit, I still respect them a lot, but the thing I respected about them guys like Khabib and that was that they were purists,” Bareman said. “All they did was fight. Don’t worry about the media, don’t worry about [anything else], continue your work, fight.
“They come from very humble beginnings. They are not very materialistic when they are making a lot of money. They just keep on training. They show up, they squeak, and they don’t care about material positions, flash cars. All they want is to fight, and their whole goal is to fight. And their style reflects it. They don’t want to be flashy. They want the best way to win. Straight from A to B. And that’s what I respected about them, and I loved it. And the thing is, at the highest level, it’s a tough game. And the amount of things you can stick to, they started to be pulled out and cut. And that’s what I respected about them. But now the game has touched them too.