UMAR NURMAGOMEDOV will be UFC featherweight champion within ‘three of four years’, his head coach Javier Mendez believes.

Nurmagomedov, the cousin of the promotion’s lightweight champion Khabib, made his long-awaited debut yesterday afternoon on the UFC Fight Island 8 prelims – where he locked horns with Sergey Morozov.

Umar Nurmagomedov looked phenomenal in his UFC debut

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Umar Nurmagomedov looked phenomenal in his UFC debutCredit: Getty
Umar Nurmagomedov showed phenomenal grappling skills in his win over Sergey Morozov

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Umar Nurmagomedov showed phenomenal grappling skills in his win over Sergey MorozovCredit: Getty

The 25-year-old announced himself to the world in spectacular fashion, choking Morozov out cold in the second round.

Nurmagomedov showcased a diverse range of striking before putting Morozov to sleep.

And Mendez believes he has all the tools to follow in his cousin’s footsteps and claim UFC gold.

He told SunSport: “Umar is a different type of fighter than his cousin Khabib.

“But he is still going to do great and I feel he will win the title in three or four years.”

American Kickboxing Academy chief Mendez explained the differences in Umar and Khabib’s respective styles to SunSport days before the former’s stunning debut.

He said: “[He’s got] great striking and great kicking. That they [fans] can expect. It’s a whole different flair. A whole different flair.

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Umar Nurmagomedov sunk in a nasty rear-naked choke on Sergey Morozov

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Umar Nurmagomedov sunk in a nasty rear-naked choke on Sergey MorozovCredit: Getty

“You can expect to see everything from him. But one thing that is going to be different is – Khabib’s boxing has gotten on fairly well.

“I mean Khabib’s boxing has gotten pretty good. Umar’s kicking is phenomenal.

“So you can expect to see more kicking [from him]. He’s a phenomenal kicker.

“He’s great on the ground, he’s got good boxing, but he’s a phenomenal kicker.

“So that’s one of the things you’ll notice a difference in between him and Khabib. Umar can kick.”

Umar Nurmagomedov choked Sergey Morozov out cold

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Umar Nurmagomedov choked Sergey Morozov out coldCredit: Getty

Nurmagomedov was chuffed with his night’s work, saying in his post-fight interview: “I’m very happy.

“All my hard work has paid off. I have a lot of work ahead. I have to keep working.

“At the beginning of the fight, I didn’t know where I was. It was a bit hard to find my way. In the second round, I was more relaxed and I found my way.

“This is not my best performance. In the future, I’m going to show everything I have.

“I have much more than what I showed tonight. I’m going to go home and enjoy time with my family and my daughter.”

Meet the cousin of Khabib UFC fighter Umar Nurmagomedov





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