Daniel Cormier believes the one thing that makes American Kickboxing Academy teammate and current UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov so special is how hard he works.
Nurmagomedov is set to take on Dustin Poirier in a lightweight title unification fight at UFC 242 on September 7 in Abu Dhabi. So far, “The Eagle” has remained undefeated in his professional career and sits toward the top of the pound-for-pound ranks for many in the combat sports world.
His win over Conor McGregor last year also made him a legitimate worldwide star. There are many things that can be attributed to Nurmagomedov’s success from his discipline, commitment, wrestling ability and the fact that he trains at AKA. However, for Cormier, the one thing that stands out is how hardworking he is.
“He’s got to be the hardest worker,” Cormier told Kevin Iole in a recent interview.
“He came in here as a young kid that didn’t speak English and he just watched. Look, when you can’t communicate, the one thing you can do is pay attention. And he paid attention. He paid attention to the way Cain [Velasquez] trained, he paid attention to the way I trained, he paid attention to the way [Josh] Thomson trained, [Jon] Fitch, everybody. He paid attention and he adopted those habits.
“Any room he goes into in the entire world, he’s going to be the hardest working guy. I think it’s his faith, his commitment to family, team, self. Just wrestling ability, confidence, striking is better than people even think. I think he’s just a great martial artist and I believe all of his core values are what propel him to be so special in the way that people are drawn to him. I mean, he’s a star at a level that nobody could have ever imagined.
“He’s the biggest star that we’ve ever had out of AKA. It’s a testament to all those great qualities that he has but if you watch him train, regardless of the room, he’s always going to be the hardest worker there.”