MMA: Undefeated Usman Nurmagomedov could be One Championship-bound, says manager Ali Abdelaziz

SINGAPORE – He hails from Russia’s southern Dagestan region, is undefeated in his professional mixed martial arts (MMA) career, and could soon be headed to Singapore-based organisation One Championship.

It is not MMA superstar Khabib Nurmagomedov who is One-bound, though, but his cousin Usman, who shares his surname.

While Khabib, 31, is famed for being the lightweight champion of American MMA giants the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and boasts a perfect record of 28 wins, 20-year-old Usman has been steadily charting his own impressive course.

Usman moved to 10 wins from 10 fights on July 31, with a 40-second technical knockout win over Finnish fighter Jerry Kvarnstrom at the UAE Warriors 12 event in Abu Dhabi.

Acclaimed MMA manager Ali Abdelaziz, who manages both Khabib and Usman, told The Straits Times in a phone interview on Wednesday (August 5) that the younger Nurmagomedov could be One Championship-bound, and that a deal was “in negotiations”.

One announced a partnership with Ali’s management company, Dominance MMA, in late July.

Ali, 42, an Egyptian and a former MMA fighter himself, tipped Usman for big things.

Previously describing the youngster as “an absolute killer” in various media interviews, Ali told ST: “He’s still young. But by 25, he’ll be a better version of Khabib.”

Time will tell if Usman will sign for One and eventually emulate or even surpass his cousin, whose stock skyrocketed after defeating Irish MMA star Conor McGregor in Oct 2018.

But Ali and Dominance have wasted no time in making their presence felt with One, having already added two high-calibre fighters to the organisation’s roster.

Dominance athletes Amir Aliakbari, a 32-year-old Iranian greco-roman wrestling world champion, and 30-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) specialist Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida, who has won 13 titles at the BJJ World Championships since 2012, were unveiled as One fighters within the past week.

While Ali believes his clients have what it takes to win titles in One, he added that sweeping up all on offer in One was “not his goal” and reiterated his delight to be doing business with the Asian organisation.

When asked to encapsulate what he thought of the partnership between Dominance and One, Ali replied: “Greatness.

“I think this partnership will change the dynamic of MMA in Asia, Europe and all over.

“I’ve been watching One for years, I’ve been a fan for years, and I like everything they do.

“Chatri (Sityodtong, One founder and chairman) is one of the biggest promoters in the world, and I may be the biggest manager in the world.

“I have great fighters, and if One is willing to make the right deals, why not have the best fighters in the world in One? It makes perfect sense.”

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