Khabib Nurmagomedov is making the leap from fighter to promoter, and he’s hoping for big things from his new organization.
Nurmagomedov has been keeping himself busy in his post-fighting career. Following his sudden retirement after his win over Justin Gaethje, he has stayed active on social media, keeping up with fan interaction, and recently bought Gorilla Fighting Championship (now Eagle Fighting Championship) for $1 million. A post about a meeting with UFC president Dana White had some fans thinking he would be making his return to the octagon soon. As it turns out, the meeting was about a whole other kind of business arrangement.
In a press conference held in Russia (and translated by RT Sport), Nurmagomedov elaborated on what the two talked about.
“I had this offer to Dana White,” Nurmagomedov said. “I wanted to make a contract with UFC Fight Pass, to broadcast EFC fights there, kind of like their contract with M-1 but a bit different.”
“The Eagle” plans not to compete with the UFC, but rather work side-by-side with the organization to create a promotion that offers a roster full of talented fighters the opportunity to get themselves seen and eventually latch on with the world’s leader in MMA.
“I wanted to discuss the number of title defenses an EFC fighter needs to get into the UFC,” Nurmagomedov said. “When we sign fighters, we would like the organization to follow them into the UFC. For example, a guy signs for six fights. If he wins and defends his title a few times, we’ll get him a UFC contract, then after he signs we’ll handle his affairs.
“It’s no secret everyone wants to get into the UFC. Other promotions want their fighters to stay. I don’t want that. I want EFC to be a launchpad into the world stage.”
While he wants to eventually see his promotion become one of the biggest in the world, Nurmagomedov knows that it would be impossible to compete with the UFC right out of the gate. He hopes that by building up the careers of fighters that eventually make it to the UFC, the EFC will develop a reputation as a promotion top fighters are looking to join.
“We need at least 10 years to be better than UFC, so we don’t have those goals,” Nurmagomedov said. “A 23-year-old fighter can have six, seven fights, win the title and defend it, then sign with the UFC in just two years.
“That’s a more realistic short-term goal than looking ahead 10 to 12 years just for a chance to become the best promotion in the world. But we do aim to become one of the best in the world.”
It will be interesting to see how the UFC/EFC partnership plays out in the coming years. We’ve already seen how much of an impact appearing on Fight Pass has had for other organizations, as LFA and Invicta have launched the careers of countless UFC fighters and organizational champions. Only time will tell if Nurmagomedov’s organization can do the same for more European fighters.
Do you think Khabib Nurmagomedov’s new promotion will be a success? Let us know!