It might take a little while to sound out the name Zabit Magomedsharipov, but it’s worth the effort considering his status as the next big thing in mixed martial arts
Hailing from Dagestan — the same country responsible for producing top ranked lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov — this 26-year old prospect recently relocated to the United States with only one goal in mind. He wants to fight in the UFC. “Before I fight in ACB [Absolute Championship Berkut], it’s a great organization in Europe, and I fight six fights in ACB. All fights I finished in the first round. I’m ready to fight anybody in the UFC. For my pro fights, 10 have been finished in the first round. I’m ready,” Magomedsharipov told FOX Sports recently.
“I’m training everyday so I think I’m ready. My coach Mark Henry says he thinks I’m ready for a big fight. He sees how I’m training everyday. I’m feeling like I’m ready. I have a good team and I think I’m ready.”
Of course, Mark Henry is the head coach for several top UFC fighters including Frankie Edgar, Eddie Alvarez, Edson Barboza and numerous others and he’s been working with Magomedsharipov ever since he arrived in the United States.
To say his head coach has rave reviews about him would be a vast understatement because Henry not only believes Magomedsharipov has what it takes to compete in the UFC.
Henry feels like Magomedsharipov is a future champion with all the tools to compete with the best in the world right now.
“He’s not a top 10 guy, he’s a top five guy,” Henry told FOX Sports. “He could be champ today. I’ve seen a natural in baseball, football, boxing, but never MMA. Just too many disciplines. He’s the first natural MMA fighter I’ve ever seen. He can do it all.
“He has all the other intangibles, too. Heart, toughness, gas, chin, mean streak, work ethic, sparring partner, size.”
It’s high praise coming from a coach who works with so many top UFC fighters, but what about Magomedsharipov’s teammates who train alongside him everyday?
Former UFC champion Frankie Edgar has trained with the best of the best in the ring and on the mats throughout his career and he’s well known for being a ferocious worker whenever he steps into the gym.
Edgar echoes his coach’s sentiments when it comes to Magomedsharipov because he feels that the Dagestan born featherweight is championship ready right now.
“Zabit might be one of the best guys I have ever trained with,” Edgar said. “He can do it all with zero holes in his game. When he gets to the UFC there is no doubt he will be a champion.”
The same could be said for highly touted bantamweight free agent Marlon Moraes, who first started working with Magomedsharipov when he arrived in the U.S. to help him for an upcoming fight.
It didn’t take long for Moraes to know that Magomedsharipov wasn’t just another sparring partner. He was a legit threat to anybody in the gym, much less anybody willing to face him in the cage.
“I have been training since I was 9-years old and I never see anything like that,” Moraes said. “He came from Russia to help for one of my fights and get in the big show and wow. He is a natural MMA fighter, good everywhere. Strong, explosive, fast, wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai, karate.
“Definitely he is ready for the UFC and not only for UFC but top five competition.”
With a 12-1 and only two decisions on his record, Magomedsharipov clearly has the experience to tout that he belongs in the UFC, but now it’s just a matter of receiving that call from the matchmakers to offer him the opportunity.
Much like his fellow countryman Nurmagomedov, Magomedsharipov comes from a grappling background but in recent years he’s fallen in love with striking, which accounts for the back-to-back knockouts in his most recent fights.
Add to that, Magomedsharipov has now been training alongside a laundry list of top fighters including several former UFC champions to truly test himself to see if he’s ready for the competition he would face in the Octagon.
While Magomedov is admittedly short on words, that’s only further proof that he’s just champing at the bit to fight so he can let his fists do the talking for him.
“I don’t want to talk. I want to fight,” Magomedsharipov said. “It’s not my style but I’m ready to fight anybody in the UFC.”
“This is a reason why I move from ACB because I want to fight in the UFC. I’m ready to fight anybody in my division at 145 [pounds].”