ISLAM MAKHACHEV paid an emotional tribute to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s late father following his UFC 280 title win.
The Russian followed in his friend and mentor’s footsteps on Saturday night by claiming the lightweight title with a second-round submission victory over Charles Oliveira.
Makhachev’s triumph in Abu Dhabi saw him finish the plan laid out by his former coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, whom he lauded in his post-fight interview.
The Dagestani said: “This belt is for my coach, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov.
“Many years ago, he told, ‘Just train hard and you’re gonna be champion. So I want to give this belt to [his son].”
Makhachev, 31, believes he owes his career to the Nurmagomedov family.
After presenting the belt to Khabib, he said: “Him and his father made me. I know [this].”
Makhachev got his hands on UFC gold thanks to a nasty arm triangle after dropping Oliveira with a big hook.
An elated Makhachev said: “First, I have to say I always ask God and he always gives me more than I ask. Alhamdulillah.”
He added: “I trained so hard for this moment.
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“All my life, when I was a kid, I trained for that moment. I want to say thank you.
“I always think this is not going to be an easy fight.
“He always pushes opponents but I know heâs going to be scared of my wrestling skills.
“I said this is my goal and Allah give me.”
Khabib was quick to sing the praises of his long-time friend, saying: “He is the pound-for-pound No. 1 fighter today.
âNow our plan, fly all the way to Australia to fight with the pound-for-pound king [Alexander] Volkanovski.â
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