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2 Jan, 2020 19:50

'Khabib was always active... I'd say even hyperactive': Khabib's father Abdulmanap lifts the lid on UFC champ's schooldays (VIDEO)

Khabib Nurmagomedov's father Abdulmanap revealed that as a youngster, the UFC lightweight champion was a hyperactive youth before going on to school, where his talent for languages wasn't fully recognized.

Nurmagomedov is known for being the most dominant athlete in the UFC today, but as a youngster he often had to run to his grandmother for backup after finding himself in trouble with his parents.

In an exclusive interview with RT Sport, Abdulmanap explained how Khabib knew which family member would always back him up, no matter what trouble he found himself in as a youngster.

"Khabib was always active in his childhood," he said.

"I'd say even hyperactive. He was always climbing, jumping on something  – the river, neighbors' yards, trees. He was always moving.

"I remember grandma defended him the most. Whenever he did something that needed punishment, he hid behind grandma and said: 'Grandma, I did this' and confess everything to her. he knew that she would defend him."

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But while his grandmother may have been a soft touch for Khabib, Abdulmanap took a harder stance with his son once he reached his mid-teens.

"After 15-16 years of age, I don't take it easy on anyone, including him," he explained.

"They have to execute since they're national athletes. The school, the republic, and the country are counting on them. They have to give it their all. At 17 you have to serve (in the army), you're a grown man. You're a member of the national youth team, adults are counting on you. And of course if you're national champion, European champion, world champion, the whole country is counting on you. So how can you take it easy."

Khabib went on to study in Makhachkala, where he picked up a talent for communicating in multiple languages. While his skill in different languages wasn't fully formed at that point, his ability to pick things up and develop his vocabulary has proved hugely useful since, as he's developed into an international superstar.

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"People in Makhachkala are more prepared than people from the country because there are lots of nationalities, so everyone speaks Russian," said Abdulmanap.

"Here he spoke Avarian 80-90 per cent of the time as well as in school. Here, Avarian languages were more developed.

"As far as grammar, he was an average student for Makhachkala at the time. But after sixth grade, believe it or not, science was taught in English. Humanitarian subjects were in Turkish. Only Russian, literature and physical education was in Russian.

"Due to his lack of English, he was asked to move to a nearby school. Out of three options, School 38 across the street was the best. There he studied for two years, and after ninth grade he got into the Financial College."

To Abdulmanap's amusement, he often has communication with Khabib's old head teacher who, after seeing him handling himself with clarity and class in media interviews in multiple languages, expresses regret at not getting more out of the future UFC star during his schooldays.

"There's this head teacher who every time he hears Khabib do an interview in English apologizes to me for not seeing his talents back then," Abdulmanap smiled.

"(Khabib) also spoke Turkish at a good level.

"My older (son) finished the school. My daughter was taken out because of her English but studied foreign languages and right now she teaches English in a school. My older one was a great student, he would often joke that my first son is smart, the other one (Khabib) is an athlete."

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