‘I never made him tap’: UFC icon Khabib says Cormier taught him ‘how to wrestle’, plans Joe Rogan slot as English improves (VIDEO)
MMA legend Khabib Nurmagomedov has discussed his ambition to “connect” with people by improving his English, his training with close friend Daniel Cormier and a future guest slot on UFC frontman Joe Rogan’s hugely popular podcast.
The 29-0 Russian, who retired last year while widely regarded as one of the best fighters of all time, spoke in English as he answered fan queries in a question-and-answer session on his heavily-followed Facebook page.
One supporter asked if he had ever made former light heavyweight and heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier tap out during their days training together at the world famous American Kickboxing Academy.
“No, I never made him tap,” conceded Nurmagomedov. “He’s too big – he’s like The Rock you know. He’s like [a] very big bear. He’s very strong.
— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) October 25, 2020
“People, when they watch him, think like he’s like [a] short, fat heavyweight. But when people [make] contact with him, they understand he’s completely different.”
“He’s a two division world champion, a light heavyweight and heavyweight [UFC champion], a Strikeforce heavyweight champion, a two-time Olympian.
“He’s very, very strong, and I never [submitted] him but we wrestled a lot. He taught me a lot of things like on the ground, on the wall, how to wrestle – a lot of things.”
Probed on whether he and DC will ever go on commentator Joe Rogan’s show, ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’, Khabib admitted that he has joined millions of people around the world in watching the chart-topping chat a lot.
“He asked me a couple of times,” Khabib confirmed.
“I really want to go on there. But before I [do], I want to be ready, you know? I want to improve my English a little bit more to explain to people what I have on my mind, you know?”
“In [the] Russian language, I can say everything – what I feel, what I want to say. But in English, I have a little bit of a barrier. When I’m ready, I will let him know,” he vowed.
Revealing the influence of one of his mentors during his phenomenal rise to the top of the UFC, ‘The Eagle’ explained how Cormier pushed him to appear on television.
Khabib talking about Daniel Cormier 😂 https://t.co/u6PUPhWfj6
— sameera khan (@SameeraKhan) August 15, 2020
“I told him, ‘This is a little bit hard for me, to talk in English,’ “ Nurmagomedov explained.
“He said, ‘No. For people, you’re a very interesting person because you come from nowhere. They don’t understand. You talk about how you come from the mountains, but they don’t know where this mountain is.
“Where is Dagestan? You come [to the octagon] with this [traditional] headgear. And your English is interesting. You speak in broken English. You’re a very interesting person.'”
“And he pushed me, you know?,” Khabib continued. “To go on some TV shows, to talk to some people. He made some jokes with me but I did not understand what he was talking about.
“It was the first time that I understood that I have to connect with people in English, not only in Russian. Then I tried to learn. But right now [my English] is OK. It’s not bad.”
— Full Mount MMA (@MMAFullMount) June 24, 2020
Another admirer pointed out that his interviews are very different in Russian, to which Khabib said: “I think people don’t understand this. There’s a little bit of a barrier.
“But in Russian, I can speak exactly what I have on my mind. I know English, I can speak what I have on my mind, I think, [around] 50 percent.
“In Russian, I can say whatever I feel, [whatever] I want. But Russian is not my first language. My first language is Avar. Then I learned Arabic, Russian, English, [and a] little bit [of] Turkish.”
Tagging Cormier and Rogan in the comments section with a pair of eyes, Cormier replied “Send me location” – a repetition of Khabib’s famous quote in the UFC, which he first uttered as his rivalry with Conor McGregor reached fever pitch.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) February 28, 2019
Retired since last October after defending his 155lb belt against Justin Gaethje, it took a while for UFC president Dana White to accept Khabib’s decision.
But as Khabib’s manger Ali Abdelaziz revealed on the Mike Tyson Hotboxin’ podcast recently, the UFC president is still adamant he can tempt his biggest client into one last outing in the octagon.
“Two weeks ago, 10 days ago, Dana White called me,” said Abdelaziz.
“He said, ‘Georges St-Pierre, he said he’ll fight Khabib in a non-title fight at 165 pounds.’
“In a way, we’ve been waiting for Georges. I like Georges. He’s my friend. I like Georges.
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“We’ve been waiting for Georges for four or five years. ‘I’m coming. I’m not coming.’
“Now [he’s] said, ‘Hey, Khabib is retired. I’m retired. What about coming back and fighting Khabib now?'” Abdelaziz explained.
Until now, Khabib has remained firm on keeping his word to his mother to walk away from a glittering career following the untimely passing of his revered coaching father, Abdulmanap, from coronavirus complications in 2020.
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