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‘Be careful’: Khabib Nurmagomedov’s cousin Abubakar warns Chimaev after Chechen-born UFC star promises to ‘tear apart’ ex-champ

‘Be careful’: Khabib Nurmagomedov’s cousin Abubakar warns Chimaev after Chechen-born UFC star promises to ‘tear apart’ ex-champ
Khamzat Chimaev has been warned about his "comfort zone" by Khabib Nurmagomedov's UFC cousin, Abubakar, after the Chechen-born sensation offered to "tear up" the lightweight legend on his charge towards the top of the division.

Welterweight Nurmagomedov had words for Chimaev after the UFC newcomer appeared to take aim at the retired champion, claiming he would "tear him apart if he wants" in a remark responding to curious comments about the Russian by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

The 31-year-old alluded to Chimaev's asylum in Sweden, where he developed into a UFC breakthrough star, and seemed unimpressed with that warning to the unbeaten sporting icon.

"I see you quickly changed your shoes," Nurmagomedov told Chimaev in a post made to his following of more than 761,000 on Instagram, accompanying his words with a photo of himself starting into the camera in sunglasses while relaxing in a cafe.

"After moving to Sweden and writing a complaint against your own Chechen Republic that you are being infringed upon, you received documents for a good life in Sweden.

"But now, having gained fame, you, I see, have changed. Now you have come back and live in Chechnya, and everything is fine with you. I'm happy for you. Don't lose this comfort zone.

"Not long ago in America, you sat at the same table with us and ate, trained in the same gym, went to the Mosque together and called us brothers.

"And now you write that you will tear someone up. Yes, I agree, everyone has the right to express their opinion. But be careful with your statements."

He later told Chimaev to "answer for yourself personally" after he said he had chosen to "talk about Dagestanis" in his reply.

"I will say this," he added. "For me, this is a sport. And I am not trying to become some kind of great champion, and I am not shouting to the whole world that I will break or tear someone.

"It is you, with us, who tears or breaks everyone – only in words. We are talking about the personal qualities that we must possess as Muslims and neighbors of fraternal republics."

Arguably the greatest UFC fighter of all time, Nurmagomedov's illustrious cousin has praised Chimaev in the past and enjoyed a cordial relationship with Kadyrov, posing with him for photos and reportedly being given a luxury car by the huge MMA fan in a gesture that he repeated for Chimaev earlier this year.

Speaking this week, Kadyrov offered the 'Eagle' however much money he wants to face a fighter from his Akhmat MMA club that he runs in Chechnya – and called him a "100 per cent UFC project" because of his understanding with UFC president Dana White.

"If he is not... then why I have never noticed our brother Khabib performing under the flag of the Russian Federation, the flag of Dagestan, or I don’t know what else?" Kadyrov was reported to have said by RIA.

“He completely tore everyone in the UFC, but there is a question [of whether] he is able to defeat anyone from the Akhmat club."

Several well-known fighters have since voiced their confusion over the remarks. "Any athlete represents himself first of all," Russian MMA lightweight Eduard Vartanyan told Championat, reflecting on the individual nature of the sport.

"Even athletes who are now going to the Olympics will glorify their name. Khabib is hardly a UFC project because they pushed him for a long time.

"He won a place in the sun for himself. Khabib is the fruit of labor and striving for a goal."

"As for the fight with a member of Akhmat, they do not have a fighter of the same weight as Nurmagomedov. Chimaev, for example, fights at 84kg. How can they be compared?

"It's like comparing Chimaev with [UFC heavyweight Francis] Ngannou. It seems to me that Khabib does not even think about it. Chimaev is young and needs this popularity effect. Perhaps he is just playing to the audience."

Vadim Finkelstein, the head of the M-1 Global promotion which hosted some of the future title-holder's earliest fights, agreed. "It seems to me that Khabib has always represented Russia and Dagestan. I didn’t see other fighters going out under someone’s flag," he observed, adding that Nurmagomedov did "not need to prove anything at all."

"Khabib is not a UFC project. On the contrary, they did not want to move him – they did not give him a title fight."

Chimaev has had a provocative week, exchanging words with Bellator MMA fighter Alexander Shlemenko, who he told to "stop drinking", and claiming that he aims to fight in two divisions in a matter of weeks again while singling out UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blakhovich.

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"On the internet, he has already won all of the UFC championship belts via Twitter," joked Blakhovich, responding to Back Talk.

"I have proven more than once that I can beat guys from lighter weight classes.

"I can also start talking about beating anyone in boxing, Tyson Fury and everyone else – if they give me a chance, [I could say] that I will knock them out. But who will believe it?

"Chimaev can talk but talking and fighting, sparring and fighting are completely different things."

'Borz' responded swiftly to Abubakar's initial post on his own Instagram. "Yes, I live where I want," he said in his reply, causing some of his mammoth following of more than 2.8 million to accuse him of losing credibility with his initial challenge.

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