Khabib Nurmagomedov talks fighting in an empty arena

Due to social distancing restrictions imposed to combat the COVID-18 global pandemic, the last 24 UFC events have been held in front of an empty arena. The energy of the crowd is lost, but for some fans, that is more than compensated for by the increased detail – shots landing can be heard loudly, as can corner instructions, and at times the fighters even overhear cageside commentary, and respond. However, during a recent interview with Farah Hannoun for UFC Arabia, undefeated lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov said he’s not a fan.

“When I fight here at 242, one year ago, it was crazy crowd, crazy fans around the world come here, a lot of people from my family, like my father was with me,” said Khabib. “It was great time last time in Abu Dhabi when I fight and right now it’s different without fans. Honestly, this energy I don’t like. I really want to fight when the fans come back, but what can we do?”

“When fans are there, this is like different level energy. With the fans and without fans is completely two different fights. Some fighters, when they don’t have fans, they fight good. When they have fans they fight little bit bad because they’re nervous. If you talk about myself, I love fans. When fans are there, they give me good energy. Even if they support me or not, I have very good energy when fans are there.

“Now I’m gonna fight without fans, we’ll see. We’ll see, but when cage close, I think nothing gonna change. I’m just gonna go and hunt and try to find my opponent.”

If Nurmagomedov is successful on Saturday, the next fight could be against the winner of Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. However, “The Eagle” wasn’t a fan of that, either.

“I don’t think I’m gonna give these guys a rematch or something like this,” he said. “They don’t deserve this. I fight with them both, I finish both of them, and these fights don’t give me good energy. For example, vs. Justin Gaethje, it’s like I can’t wait. This fight makes me excited, but Dustin or Conor, these guys don’t make me excited because I already beat them. Why I have to fight with them?”

GSP on the other hand, would give Khabib good energy.

h/t Jed Meshew for MMA Fighting

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