More than two decades ago, a young Khabib Nurmagomedov wrestled a bear without knowing that he’ll hold an undefeated world record in combat sports someday. Now, another Dagestani kid is doing the same and we can’t help but consider a parallel.
The mixed martial arts community was left in shock when they first watched the footage of the lightweight champ grappling a bear as a nine-year-old. And this ‘unorthodox’ way of training seems to have paid off for Khabib.
Khabib’s father and coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov has recently posted the footage of another youngster wrestling a cub in their Russian hometown. In 1997, the young Khabib was taped doing the same and it looks like it’s about to become a ritual in the region.
“So training has begun for our brothers. [This is a] good example of the path to the highest awards,” Abdulmanap captioned the Facebook video in Russian.
The footage shows an apparently young wrestling hopeful smiling while he was trying to ward off a mauling bear. Other boys and older men were also smiling and laughing at the site of a Dagestan-style combat training while a handler controlling the bear by its leash.
Though the cub seemed to overpower his human opponent, some parts of the footage looked more like a boy cuddling a huge teddy bear. The handler called the grappling match off when the animal started biting the youngster’s shirt.
When Khabib confirmed that he was the child on the video that emerged in 2015, his father explained why he allowed him to.
“Firstly, a child always wants his father to see what his son is capable of. It is a pity that there was nothing more interesting when he was younger. In the end, this was a test of character more than exercise,” Abdulmanap told ToFight.Ru.
Вот и тренировки начались у наших братьев. Хороший пример по пути к высоким наградам .
Gepostet von Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov am Sonntag, 10. Februar 2019
The undefeated mixed martial artist is now serving a one-year suspension for his role in the UFC 229 post-fight melee. It was when he submitted Conor McGregor with a rear-naked choke in the Las Vegas headliner in October.
Prior to the title match, the Irish fighter commented on his Russian fighter’s bear-wrestling stint when he was a child. McGregor refused to get threatened at his rival’s early training on their then-upcoming Octagon meet.
“He may have wrestled Dagestani bears, but he has never wrestled an Irish gorilla, Conan, and that’s what he’s about to face.”
“I believe he has many weaknesses in his game. The Dagestan region specializes in wrestling. The kid wrestled bears when he was a baby. It’s part of their culture. I am under no illusions, he is a skilled wrestler.”
“Of course, fighting in the whole picture, there are many more facets to fighting. A lot more than one single discipline,” the ‘Notorious’ stated.
Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov and Youtube/Sadam Astamirov