The Chechen fighter and Abubakar Nurmagomedov had to part ways in Abu Dhabi
Tempers flared on the sidelines of UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi when Chechen sensation Khamzat Chimaev sparred with fellow fighter Abubakar Nurmagomedov – who is the cousin of MMA icon Khabib.
Chimaev and Abubakar Nurmagomedov were cageside at the Etihad Arena as Islam Makhachev won the UFC lightweight title on Saturday night with a second round victory over Charles Oliveira.
Makhachev’s success sparked jubilant scenes among his team inside the Octagon, including Khabib.
Team member Abubakar Nurmagomedov watched from close to the cage, having previously competed on the card when he scored a decision victory over fellow Russian Gadzhi Omargadzhiev.
Chimaev, who was in Abu Dhabi only as a spectator, was seen shaking hands with Nurmagomedov as the pair were deep in discussion after the end of the main event.
The exchange seemed cordial at first, but quickly turned nasty as Chimaev, wearing a black cap, appeared to lash out at Nurmagomedov, who responded in kind.
A scuffle ensued as security personnel stepped in to diffuse the tension, while Khabib was seen climbing the side of the cage but did not directly intervene.
It was not immediately clear what sparked the altercation, although Chimaev and Abubakar Nurmagomedov exchanged words in an online feud in 2021.
On that occasion, the Dagestani appeared to warn Chimaev after taking offense at comments the Chechen had made about Khabib.
Asked about the scenes at UFC 280, promotion president Dana White later told the media “it happens, especially with him,” referring to Chimaev.
Chimaev has emerged as one of the UFC’s biggest stars in recent years.
The 28-year-old burst onto the scene in the summer of 2020 and is undefeated in six visits to the UFC Octagon – most recently destroying Kevin Holland in the first round of their catchweight match at UFC 279 in September.
That fight was preceded by a weight cut by Chimaev for his originally scheduled contest against Nate Diaz, and also saw ‘Borz’ get involved in a brawl backstage during match week.
Khabib was recently heard at an event in London suggesting that Chimaev should have more Muslim members in their team to prevent him from getting lost.
Dagestani welterweight Abubakar Nurmagomedov, 32, has a 2-1 record since joining the UFC ranks.
He is a member of a tight-knit team that includes the likes of Khabib and newly crowned UFC lightweight champion Makhachev.
Abubakar was among those involved in the infamous melee that broke out when Khabib defended his UFC lightweight title against Conor McGregor in Las Vegas in 2018, Later shared about the injuries he sustained in that fight.