Khabib Nurmagomedov is planning to bring Eagle Fighting Championship to the United States in 2022.

The former UFC lightweight champion may be retired but he remains one of MMA’s key figures, especially in his native Russia where he has launched his own MMA promotion.

Since taking over Gorilla Fighting Championship late in 2020 and rebranding it, Nurmagoemdv has held 15 different events, primarily in his home country but also in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

In January, Eagle FC will make its U.S. debut, and Nurmagomedov claims that several more of his events will take place there in 2022.

“If you want to become big in MMA, you have to be in USA,” Nurmagomedov told ESPN. “For fighters, for promotion, you have to be in U.S. If you’re not in U.S., you can never become No. 1 or best. It’s almost impossible.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov Doesn’t Want To Rival The UFC

The undefeated fighter insists that he is not trying to become a rival to the UFC, Bellator, PFL, or any other U.S based fight promotion.

“It’s not a secret the UFC is the best in the world,” Nurmagomedov said. “Almost 30 years these guys, the UFC, have done a great show around the world. UFC is a great brand. I don’t want to compete with them or other promotions. I have my principles. I have my view.”

Nurmagomedov plans to play the part of the promoter for Eagle FC event but joked that he has no desire to follow in the footsteps of Dana White.

“I have hair on my head, first of all,” Nurmagomedov said with a laugh. “I see Dana’s photos when he’s just beginning with the UFC. Now, you can see he don’t have hair on his head. I don’t want to be like Dana.”

Do you think Khabib Nurmagomedov can make an impact with Eagle FC in the U.S?

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A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.