Video: UFC lightweights Khabib and Islam train in the Dagestan Mountains with Abdulmanap

Much has been said about UFC competitors from the North Caucasus and the feverish pace they are able to set during their fights. It…

By: Karim Zidan | 8 years ago
Video: UFC lightweights Khabib and Islam train in the Dagestan Mountains with Abdulmanap
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

Much has been said about UFC competitors from the North Caucasus and the feverish pace they are able to set during their fights. It is not a natural characteristic of their game, but one that is developed after years of high elevation training in the mountainous terrain of the region.

Many fighters from the current crop of UFC competitors from Dagestan currently train under the tutelage of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s father, Abdulmanap. Widely regarded as one of the most renowned wrestlers of his era, Abdulmanap won Ukrainian National Championships in both Judo and Combat Sambo, as well as the Dagestan National Championships in freestyle wrestling.

According to Abdulmanap, who was featured in a longform based on his life, the Caucasian mountains were a breeding ground for top talent.

“In my opinion, training deep in the mountains is an irreplaceable part of training. You simply cannot go three or five full rounds without elevation training.”

“It is better to set up training camps in the Dagestan Mountains. There is high elevation, pine forests, fresh air and water. You cannot find it in the United States.”

Check out the short video clip of Abdulmanap’s training regimen in the mountains.

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About the author
Karim Zidan
Karim Zidan

Karim Zidan is a investigative reporter and feature writer focusing on the intersection of sports and politics. He has written for BloodyElbow since 2014 and has served as an associate editor since 2016. He also writes for The New York Times and The Guardian. Karim has been invited to speak about his work at numerous universities, including Princeton, and was a panelist at the South by Southwest (SXSW) film festival and the Oslo Freedom Forum. He also participated in the United Nations counter-terrorism conference in 2021. His reporting on Ramzan Kadyrov’s involvement in MMA, much of which was done for Bloody Elbow, has led to numerous award nominations, and was the basis of an award-winning HBO Real Sports documentary.

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