The quiet man in Khabib's corner: Meet champ's trusted confidant Umar

The quiet man in Khabib’s corner: How UFC star and ‘brother’ Umar have become inseparable during his rise to the top… and are even launching a London gym to help under-privileged kids stay off the streets

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov’s charity work is helped by friend Umidjon Mavlkyanov 
  • He met UFC star through Abdulmanap, Khabib’s late father who died this year
  • Mavlkyanov – known as Umar – is regularly spotted in Khabib’s Instagram feed
  • He is key man behind scenes and preparing to launch ‘Khabib Gyms’ in London 

Khabib Nurmagomedov’s empire will soon stretch to London with the UFC star opening a number of gyms in a project masterminded by a man he considers his ‘brother’. 

The aim is to give under-privileged youngsters an escape from the streets and introduce them to the discipline that can be instilled through MMA.

Khabib is preparing for his huge UFC 254 title defence against Justin Gaethje on Saturday night but has a loyal team to help with his charity work and business interests outside of the octagon. 

Khabib Nurmagomedov (left) is opening gyms in London with Umidjon Mavlkyanov (right)

The UFC champion was introduced to Umar through his late father Abdulmanap (left)

One of his most trusted confidants, who has also been helping run his pre-Gaethje training camp for three months, is called Umidjon Mavlkyanov. Known to friends as ‘Umar’, he is masterminding the ‘Khabib Gym’ project. 

He was introduced to Khabib having become like a second son to the late Abdulmanap, the Russian’s father, before he died following complications from coronavirus earlier this year.  

Umar is regularly featured on Khabib’s Instagram feed and has grown close to the 28-0 phenomenon. Friends say they have become inseparable in recent months. 

He has helped with a number of pieces of charity work in the past, arranging for disadvantaged children to meet some of the biggest names in football, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Eden Hazard. 

Umar has helped disadvantaged children meet football stars such as Eden Hazard (left)

The Uzbekistan-born Brit arrived in the UK 13 years ago and has since built a number of connections in the MMA world having previously competed in Cage Rage himself. 

Through his work and his passion for sport, Umar became a well-connected and trusted confidant of sportsmen and wealthy backers for whom he works putting together commercial and promotional deals. He is also an associate of Matchroom boxing promoter Eddie Hearn.

As a key part of Khabib’s entourage, he will lead the move to launch MMA gyms under Khabib’s name in London. 

Young fighters will be encouraged and financially supported by the initiative and the long-term goal is to expand across the country. 

Umar has been helping with Khabib’s training camp along with head coach Javier Mendez (left)

Khabib has enjoyed sharing his success and charity work is important to the UFC champion

MMA has already exploded in popularity across the middle east as Khabib’s influence as one of the sport’s biggest stars has increased.

He is the poster boy in the region and his success has already seen him sign endorsement deals with the likes of Toyota and Gorilla Energy drinks.  

As a devout Muslim, Khabib views charity work as a key part of his life and regularly speaks about a desire to give back. His empire is growing all the time but is underpinned by the champion’s success in the cage. 

Umar will be leading the London project on Khabib’s behalf in his adopted home but his immediate attention will be on Saturday night in Abu Dhabi. 

He is in the corner of Liliya Shakirova, the first Uzbek female fighter to compete for the UFC. 

After that, his focus, and every MMA fan’s attention will be on the mouth-watering headline act between his ‘brother’ and Gaethje. 

Khabib’s loyal team have helped him prepare for the showdown with Justin Gaethje 

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