UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has openly discussed his sadness following the death of his father and coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov last month.

Nurmagomedov Sr. died on July 3 after several months of battling health complications brought on by the coronavirus. The 57-year-old first fell ill in April with pneumonia-like symptoms, but COVID-19 was not confirmed. The renowned MMA coach told media he was feeling fine after his health scare but then his condition quickly deteriorated. Nurmagomedov was sent to a Russian military hospital for further treatment, it was there he tested positive for the coronavirus before suffering a heart attack brought on by the disease. He appeared to be on the mend after awaking from his medically induced coma but ultimately succumbed to the illness.

The undefeated Russian fighter revealed he is still very sad following the passing of his father during a recent press conference.

“I’m sure everyone in this room lost someone,” Nurmagomedov said to media including RT Sport. “A friend, a neighbor, a cousin, a mother, a father, girlfriend. Everyone goes through loss, I understand that. But on the other hand it’s very difficult. Some people have strictly a father-son relationship, but my father was very close to me. We were like friends. He was my father and coach, we were always together. We were very close. Of course I’m sad.”

Nurmagomedov is currently preparing for a lightweight unification fight against interim champion Justin Gaethje. The pair are expected to clash at UFC 254 on October 24.

‘The Eagle’ admits his training has been affected by his grief but says he is hoping he can come through this adversity stronger than before.

“If I tell you with a straight face that it doesn’t affect my training, that’d be a lie,” he said. “It does affect me, I think about him all the time. Maybe this pain will put me on another level and make me stronger. Any challenge either breaks you or makes you stronger. We’ll see what it does to me in time.” (Transcribed by BJPENN.com)

Do you think Khabib Nurmagomedov needs more time off after the death of his father?

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.