The Nurmagomedov surname carries a lot of prestige in the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). From Khabib Nurmagomedov to Umar Nurmagomedov, the name signifies dominance. But not just in the UFC, Nurmagomedovs are dominating the entire sport. Perhaps the best fighter outside the UFC is Usman Nurmagomedov, who is the dominating 155lbs division of Bellator.
Usman made his MMA debut in 2017 at featherweight. However, his run at the 145lbs division lasted for only four fights as he moved to lightweight in 2019 against Gabriel Baino. With an unbeaten record of 11-0, Usman joined the second-biggest MMA promotion, Bellator, in April 2021. Since then, he beat Mike Hamel, Manny Muro, Patrik Pietila, and Chris Gonzalez.
With a perfect record of 15-0, Usman will finally get the chance to fight for the very first MMA title of his career. He will fight Patricky Pitbull in the co-main event of Bellator 288, for the lightweight title. Remaining unbeaten in MMA is an extraordinary feat and Usman made it look very easy. Nurmagomedov is also a heavy favorite to become the next Bellator 155lbs champ.
But, at the age of 24, Usman appears to be ready for the next big step in his career. Moving to UFC from Bellator looks like the next logical step for Usman. But it may not happen after all. There is a big possibility that Usman never fights in the Octagon. Let’s find out why!
Why may Usman Nurmagomedov never fight in the UFC?
Loyalty is a big virtue in the Nurmagomedov family. Usman Nurmagomedov is a direct relative of Khabib Nurmagomedov. He is Khabib’s cousin and also the younger brother of UFC bantamweight fighter Umar Nurmagomedov. Khabib often corners Usman during his Bellator fights and they share a very good bond. But that may just be the reason why Usman never joins the UFC.
As previously mentioned, Usman fights at lightweight. Hence, if Usman was to join the UFC, he would be going up against Islam Makhachev for the 155lbs title. Islam recently beat Charles Oliveira at UFC 280 for the belt. Usman’s career trajectory has so far shown that he only wants to reach the very top. Hence, it may create a rift in the Nurmagomedov camp if he was matched up against Islam.
For example, Khabib gave up his lightweight title in 2020 so that he does not cross paths with Islam Makhachev. So Usman will surely look to avoid a similar scenario when he joins the UFC. But, Usman is only 24 and Makhachev is 31 years of age. So there is a chance that Islam follows Khabib’s path and gives up the belt for Usman to have a crack at it.
Usman Nurmagomedov’s thoughts on becoming a Bellator champ
Usman Nurmagomedov is a complete package. His perfect record of 15-0 has been an entertaining one. He has 8 KO/TKOs, 5 submissions and only 2 decision wins. Every time he fights, it is a must-see occasion for the fans. Usman is completely focused on becoming the first Dagestani-born Bellator champion. He wants to create history against Patricky Pitbull.
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“My name will be written in the history books forever. There was a time nobody would sign fighters from the Caucasus. Nobody knew where Dagestan is, where this part of Russia is located. Now we have two champions from Dagestan in the UFC – past and present. I want to be the first Bellator champion from Dagestan. Nobody will take this away from me. No matter what happens in the future, my name will be saved in the history books.” (h/t via Yahoo! Sports)
The 24-year-old is very young in his career and fighting Pitbull will definitely be the biggest challenge of his career. If he does manage to get his hands on the belt, he will have the opportunity to defend the Bellator belt multiple times while Islam stacks up some title defenses.
By the time Islam Makhachev is at the fag end of his career, Usman just join the UFC and continue the Nurmagomedov legacy even further.