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3 Jul, 2020 16:13

'Heartbreaking': Planned Khabib opponent Gaethje pays tribute to 'legend' Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov after death aged 57

'Heartbreaking': Planned Khabib opponent Gaethje pays tribute to 'legend' Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov after death aged 57

Justin Gaethje, the planned next opponent for UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, has paid tribute to his rival's late father and trainer Abdulmanap after his death in Moscow at the age of 57.

Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov died in a Moscow hospital on Friday following a months-long battle with complications arising from a Covid-19 infection. 

READ MORE: Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, father of UFC champ Khabib, dies from Covid-19 complications aged 57 

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.  

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.

READ MORE: 'A patriot of his people': Russian UFC title challenger Petr Yan adds to condolences after death of Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov

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