Khabib Nurmagomedov’s father ‘improving’ following surgery and COVID-19 complications

UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, has been in the hospital for the past couple of months dealing with issues that put him in critical condition. He has not yet recovered, but Khabib’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, said recently that Abdulmanap is improving.

Abdulmanap fell ill and was hospitalized in April with a diagnosis of pneumonia and flu-like symptoms, though it reportedly wasn’t believed to be COVID-19 at that time. He then underwent heart surgery, which followed a previous heart surgery that took place about a year ago.

He then fell into critical condition in a Russian military hospital following the second heart surgery due to complications from a previous ailment and the coronavirus, according to Khabib. The champion also noted that he had more than 20 people from his family who had gotten sick and/or died as a result of contracting COVID-19.

Though the situation appeared dire, Abdulmanap now appears to be making at least some progress.

“Khabib is very strong, his family is very strong, and his father is very strong,” Abdelaziz told ESPN‘s Brett Okamoto. “He’s improving. He opened his eyes, responding a little bit. Good sign. Allah is in control. We have faith he will be better, but at the end of the day, it’s completely up to his health whether it progresses or not. But he’s progressing, and we’re very happy about this.”

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Will Khabib still fight Justin Gaethje in September?

Despite the continued struggles with his father’s health, Khabib is apparently still on target to unify his belt with that of interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje as planned in September.

Khabib was originally slated to fight Tony Ferguson at UFC 249, initially on April 18, but the fight fell through when Khabib went into lockdown in Russia. Ferguson fought Gaethje instead. Gaethje won the fight and the interim belt, securing a shot at Khabib.

Though there were initial hopes of Khabib vs. Gaethje in July, the bout was quickly agreed to for September, which still appears to be the target, although a location is yet to be decided. Abdelaziz indicated that Khabib is still moving forward with those plans and is already training for the bout.

“I think Khabib’s father being sick has motivated him more,” Abdelaziz said. “He’s training every day, two times a day. He’s in camp already. Me and him were talking and I said, ‘Hey, get your mind off, do what you need to do.’ He’s always training. He’s a true mixed martial artist. Same with Gaethje. They are both great guys and they want to fight. It’s a dream fight. It’s a real king versus king fight.”

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