'Heartbreaking': Planned Khabib opponent Gaethje pays tribute to 'legend' Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov after death aged 57
Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov died in a Moscow hospital on Friday following a months-long battle with complications arising from a Covid-19 infection.
The news prompted an outpouring of mourning in the MMA community, including from UFC interim lightweight champion Gaethje – who is slated as Khabib's next opponent this autumn.
"So heartbreaking to hear this news of the Legend Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. I’m very sorry @TeamKhabib. You’re dad passed with a heart full of pride knowing you will carry on his legacy," the American wrote in a moving message to his octagon rival.
So heartbreaking to hear this news of the Legend Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. I’m very sorry @TeamKhabib You’re dad passed with a heart full of pride knowing you will carry on his legacy.— Justin Gaethje 🇺🇸 (@Justin_Gaethje) July 3, 2020
Gaethje's words add to a wave of similar sentiments from others in the combat sports world, including the likes of Conor McGregor's coach John Kavanagh and Russian bantamweight title contender Petr Yan.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is also said to have called Khabib personally to offer his condolences.
Khabib himself has not yet made a public statement on his father's death, although he will attend the burial service in the Dagestani village of Kirovaul late on Friday evening or Saturday morning.Also on rt.com Putin calls, offers 'deepest condolences' to UFC champ Khabib over father's passing