Khabib's cousin Usman reveals why he snubbed UFC for Bellator and vows to become 'better version' of MMA legend

KHABIB’S cousin Usman has vowed to become a ‘better version’ of the undefeated star – but says there are already ‘enough Nurmagomedovs’ in UFC.

The 22-year-old has already embarked on an 11-0 record so far in his career and makes his Bellator debut against Mike Hamel tomorrow on a landmark night for the BBC.

Undoubtedly Khabib remains the king of the family when it comes to the cage after relinquishing the UFC lightweight title and retiring with a perfect 29-0.

But the Russian youngster embarks on his own new chapter in the lightweight division by becoming the first member of his clan to compete on a Bellator card.

He faced the media last night ahead of his big bow and was instantly asked why he had not followed his legendary relative and fellow cousin Abubakar Nurmagomedov into Dana White’s octagon.

And he cheekily replied to MMA Junkie’s question with: “We’ve got enough Nurmagomedovs in the UFC so we needed to move on, so that’s why I picked Bellator. They needed one as well.”

And it may not be too long before we see Khabib by his side in Scott Coker’s promotion.

Since hanging up his gloves, Khabib has helped corner a number of his team-mates over recent months.

Usman said: “Khabib already cornered and did a camp for two of our team-mates and they successfully won their fights.

“Khabib is a very great coach, same as a fighter. So I’m sure I will be the third one from this team that will get a win.”

A post shared by Usman Nurmagomedov (@usman_nurmagomedov)

A post shared by Usman Nurmagomedov (@usman_nurmagomedov)


Usman signed with Bellator in October finishing 10 of his 11 pro fights by submission or knockout – seven of them coming in the first round.

And even though he is extremely proud of his cousin’s achievements, he has no intention of remaining in his shadows for long.

In fact, he wants to become even better than the cage icon.

He replied to BBC Sport with: “I spend my entire training camp with Khabib. It's very hard work to compete and train with him. So after training camp has finished, it feels very easy to train and fight with other people.

“I learn everything from Khabib. Whenever I want to know or learn something, Khabib is there.”

I want to follow in Khabib's footsteps, follow his journey and eventually become a better version of him

He added: “It's very motivational for me to fight under the Nurmagomedov name.

“I want to follow in Khabib's footsteps, follow his journey and eventually become a better version of him.

“I have my debut, I have my opponent and after that we will see. Of course I would like to be a champion and I would like to be a champion in every organisation I fight in.”

Usman's fight against Hamel is second on the main card with Patricio Freire and Emmanuel Sanchez’s Bellator featherweight title clash headlining.

Bellator 255 takes place Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena and will be screened live on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website from 11pm, the first since the broadcasters deal to exclusively show Bellator MMA live in the UK throughout 2021.

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