Apart from having his UFC return made official at UFC 242 against Dustin Poirier, lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov apparently signed a career-defining deal. According to manager Ali Abdelaziz, it had strengthened their relationship with the UFC.
“We’re extremely happy,” Abdelaziz told MMA Fighting on Tuesday. “We’re well taken care of. We can’t ask for any better. We very grateful. Easiest negotiation I ever did. It was fair, straight to the point. This is one of the biggest deals in UFC history. I don’t care Conor [McGregor], I don’t care this is one of the biggest guaranteed money [contracts] in UFC history.
“When you do this kind of deal, people normally burn bridges. The bridges only got stronger, that’s all I’m going to say.
“The UFC stepped up,” he added. “They give us what we want and they made a good business decision on their behalf and they made us a partner. We are all partners. We are in it together on this.”
Prior to the signing, Khabib only had one fight left in his contract. With the new deal in place, Abdelaziz believes it elevates the undefeated fighters’ status to whole new different heights.
“My opinion right now, Khabib is the pound-for-pound greatest fighter we’ve ever seen,” he said. “He never lost. He’s never been caught. He’s never been dropped. He’s dominated every round against almost every opponent. No [performance-enhancing drugs], nothing.
“This is why he’s the highest-paid athlete in the UFC today. Believe me. He’s the highest-paid athlete in the UFC today. And I’m saying that again because I see everything. They showed me everything. Khabib is the highest-paid athlete in the UFC and we are happy. It’s time to fight.”
One of the major changes for UFC 242 is that Khabib’s father Abdulmanap will be able to be in his son’s corner. The elder Nurmagomedov had not been able to do so due to visa issues for fights held in the United States.
“One of the most important things for Khabib is his father will be in his corner,” Abdelaziz said. “This is worth so much more than a lot of money. Money is important but his father being able to corner him, this is something worth so much more.”
UFC 242 will take place on September 7th in Abu Dhabi. Also part of the card is Khabib’s teammate Islam Makhachev, who was among those involved in the UFC 229 brawl in October. He will be facing ADCC champion Davi Ramos.