Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov and Khabib Nurmagomedov were more than just father and son, they were coach and student, master and disciple. That’s why Daniel Cormier, who trains with Khabib at American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) in San Jose, was ‘taken a little aback’ by ‘The Eagle’s’ decision to return to the cage so soon after the tragic passing of his father earlier this year.
Nurmagomedov is scheduled to take on newly-crowned interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje in a headlining title unification bout at UFC 254 in October, and ‘DC’ admits he was initially a little nervous about the booking.
“I was a little nervous initially,” Cormier told MMA Junkie’s Mike Bohn in a recent interview. “Not nervous, I was taken a little aback. After I did the show (for ESPN talking about it) I had heard that Khabib was looking more at getting going sooner than later. So, when the announcement was made, it didn’t surprise me because I had an inclination it was going to happen. But I thought he would be away for a while. But nothing makes me happier than my champion coming back and defending his belt.”
Cormier says he will likely take a step back from commentary duties at UFC 254 due to his close relationship with Nurmagomedov.
“I’m probably going to step back,” he said.
Cormier also has his hands full with a headlining championship bout of his own on Aug. 15, when he takes on two-time heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic at UFC 252.
UFC 254: Khabib vs. Gaethje will take place on October 24 at a TBD location.
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