SINGAPORE – Mixed martial arts organization One Championship will welcome MMA royalty on January 14, with Khabib Nurmagomedov set to attend his Heavy Hitters event at Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Nurmagomedov, 33, retired in October 2020 as the lightweight champion of US MMA giant Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
The Russian ended his career with a perfect record of 29 wins, including one against Conor McGregor, the brash Irishman considered by many to be the greatest superstar the sport has ever produced.
Nurmagomedov will be in Singapore to be in the corner of compatriot Saygid Izagakhmaev, 27, who will make his One Championship debut after racking up a record 19 wins and two losses.
Many of them came under the Eagle Fighting Championship, the MMA organization owned by Nurmagomedov.
“I have never been to this beautiful country and this will be my first time,” Nurmagomedov told One Championship ahead of his trip to Singapore.
“I am very excited about this trip. I have been almost all over the world and Singapore is one of the places I want to go. Of course in shaa Allah (God willing) I will be there . “
Izagakhmaev will face American fighter James Nakashima (12 wins, two losses), who unsuccessfully challenged for the welterweight championship (under 84 kg) in 2020.
Nurmagomedov said Izagakhmaev started training with him and his late father almost 15 years ago, and described him as “a very focused and relentless trainer”.
He added, “We have a similar fighting style because we’ve trained together for a long time, grips, wrestling, the way we move and use our body, hips and legs on the ground.
“But (Izagakhmaev) is a little taller than me and he has good Thai boxing technique, with his elbows and knees. So he’s a little different from me.”
Nurmagomedov predicted a dominant victory for his compatriot on January 14, believing the fight will not last the full three rounds.
“Nakashima is a good fighter, I watched a few of his fights, but I don’t think he can control (Izagakhmaev) in a fight,” he said.
“We have a good plan – we are going to defend his fight and we are going to damage him. I really believe Saygid can finish it.”
Nurmagomedov isn’t the only MMA icon to visit Singapore. Canadian Georges St. Pierre, often in conversation as one of the greatest of all time, has also been here on several occasions at the invitation of Evolve MMA, the gym owned by the founder and CEO of One, Chatri Sityodtong.
The One’s Heavy Hitters event will be led by Chinese fighter Xiong Jingnan, who will defend her U-57kg strawweight world title against Ayaka Miura of Japan.
On the main card, Singaporean Tiffany Teo will also be in action in a women’s strawweight fight against Meng Bo of China.