‘Four of our team will be fighting’: Khabib says UFC 254 comeback will be family affair

A little over a month since the passing of his father and trainer Abdulmanap, Khabib Nurmagomedov says that his UFC comeback card against Justin Gaethje will also feature his cousins Abubakar and Umar and teammate Islam Makhachev.

READ MORE: ‘Different from all other preparation’: Khabib talks of ‘hard’ training ahead of Gaethje clash & first fight since father’s death

Khabib will make the third defence of his UFC lightweight title against top contender Gaethje later this year and ahead of what will likely be a very emotional encounter for the undefeated fighter, he says that several of his family and teammates will be on hand to support him – in and out of the cage.

Writing on Instagram, Khabib said that his cousins Abubakar and Umar will also be competing on the card – as will his training partner Islam Makhachev, who is currently in the midst of a six-fight winning streak in the UFC lightweight division. 

The three of us will be back on the same day at #ufc254,” Khabib wrote, via translation.

@abubakar_nurmagomedov @islam_makhachev. Plus there will be @umar_nurmagomedov. In short there will be four fighters from our team.”

UFC 254 is set to take place on October 24 at a location yet to be determined, though it is likely to be at the UFC’s ‘Fight Island’ in Abu Dhabi. Failing that, the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas would be favorite to host the event amid the ongoing restrictions on fans attending sporting events.

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Khabib Nurmagomedov (right) takes on Justin Gaethje (left) at UFC 254 © Mark J Rebilas / USA Today Sports via Reuters | © Instagram / khabib_nurmagomedov
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The event will take place more than 13 months since Nurmagomedov last defended his 155lbs championship with a third-round submission win against Dustin Poirier in September of last year. The Russian’s first title defence came against Conor McGregor in October 2018. 

Abubakar Nurmagomedov, meanwhile, will be looking for his first UFC win after being beaten in his debut by David Zawada in Moscow last November. If booked, the event will mark Umar Nurmagomedov’s debut with the organization.