‘The best Dagestani fighter after Khabib’: UFC legend Frank Mir on Umar Nurmagomedov
Former two-time UFC heavyweight champion Mir was a commentating live for RT Sport on the Gorilla Fighting Championship (GFC) 20 event from the Uzbek capital of Tashkent on Saturday, the first-ever legalized MMA event to be held in the Central Asian country.
Headlining was 23-year-old Umar Nurmagomedov who defended his GFC bantamweight title against previously undefeated Argentine Braian Gonzales with an impressive first-round rear naked choke submission in a style Mir said is an indication he is “up-and-coming one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world”.
“That was a near flawless execution of a fight that you can possibly have,” Mir said cageside. “At this point, we just need tougher guys to go at him. Now I’m not taking anything away from [Gonzalez]. He got ran over so convincingly from the opening bell to the end, that you can’t see how good he really is.”
“Getting guys that have more of a well-known reputation of their abilities and having Umar take those guys out, that’s really gonna be the next step. Named guys, you know, maybe former UFC guys or someone else that has an up and coming name that has that kind of acknowledgement, now we need to have names on his list because people go ‘oh, you beat, who?’.
“That’s the problem he’s gonna run into right now is that Umar, his technique is beautiful, but they’re gonna start wondering what’s the level of your competition.”
While Umar will inevitably need a step up in opposition to scale the heights of his cousin, the younger Nurmagomedov has his sights set on reaching the sport’s flagship promotion. When asked his future plans during his post-fight interview, Umar replied "to the UFC" and will perhaps have received encouragement from another Dagestani fighter Zabit Magomedsharipov headlining the recent UFC Fight Night 163 card in Moscow.
Following the victory, which moved Nurmagomedov to a perfect 12-0 record and came in front of Dagestan Eagle Khabib who bellowed advice from cageside throughout the short fight, Mir went as far as to rank Umar the best fighter in Dagestan - behind his champion family member.
“My counter-argument to the counter-argument, when people sit there and watch a guy get ran over like his, well you know - that’s exactly what Khabib would have done to him too. As far as maybe not the exact style point-wise, but he would run him over in a minute or two.Also on rt.com WATCH: Khabib's cousin Omar fights at GFC 20 (commentary with Frank Mir)
“This shows that he could very well be up and coming one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world eventually. We’re just getting the privilege of watching him in the infant stages of his career.
“Right now he’s the best. Anyone besides his cousin right here, Khabib, and I have a very high opinion of the Dagestani, Chechen, Uzbek fighters. Right now though, what I just saw was one of the most complete fighters as far as striking wrestling and submission.
“Most of the fighters that I work with in the Dagestani area have two out of those three. They’re either really good strikers with phenomenal wrestling, or they’re really good wrestlers with phenomenal submissions, but I’ve yet to see one that’s as complete as Umar. This guy’s a straight-A student when it comes to the fight card.”
Umar Nurmagomedov is widely recognized as one of the region's most prominent prospects was featured in the second instalment of RT Sport's documentary series 'Land of Warriors'.