Olympic silver medalist Kadi Magomedov is the latest high-profile wrestler to join the roster at Bellator MMA as he begins his fighting career.
The 28-year-old Russian, who famously blanked four-time NCAA champion Kyle Dake with an 11-0 shutout at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, will be making the move to MMA while still competing in wrestling with hopes that he’ll add a gold medal to his resume in 2024.
According to Magomedov — whose full name is Mahamedkhabib Kadimagomedov — he’s been contemplating a future in MMA for quite some time but obviously he always stayed focused on his wrestling career, especially after capturing a silver medal at the Olympics.
“A long time ago, I thought about it this but now I think is a great time to join MMA and fight in the best promotion in the world,” Magomedov told MMA Fighting. “I’m very thankful for my manager and for Bellator giving me this opportunity.
“I’m not going to leave wrestling. I’m going to continue competing in wrestling and MMA.”
Originally from Dagestan, Magomedov actually represented Belarus at the 2020 games where he defeated Dake in one of the biggest surprises in the freestyle wrestling competition after the Cornell graduate was a heavy favorite to make it to the finals. In the same tournament, Magomedov defeated 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Frank Chamizo to make it to the finals.
Magomedov ultimately lost to eventual gold medalist Zaurbek Sidakov, who is currently ranked as the No. 3 pound-for-pound wrestler in the world.
MMA ties run deep as Magomedov has a long history training with the Nurmagomedov family including former UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov as well as reigning UFC lightweight king Islam Makhachev. He will now be the latest fighter from that camp seeking to conquer MMA with plans to fight in the featherweight division.
“I’m going to train with the Nurmagomedov team and in the Nurmagomedov school,” Magomedov said. “I’ve trained with these guys a long time and they give me a lot of benefit.
“I don’t want to rush and I don’t want to hurry up. I want to do a little bit of sparring and wrestling but I don’t like to wait a lot. Probably I’m going to fight soon.”
Much like his teammates, Magomedov anticipates making a big impact in MMA as soon as he makes his debut with hopes that he’ll bring gold back to Dagestan with him.
In fact, Magomedov is already targeting another Olympian as the gold standard that he hopes to set between wrestling and MMA.
“I have a dream to be No. 1 in wrestling and I want to be No. 1 in MMA,” Magomedov said. “I want to beat [Henry] Cejudo’s record and I’m a little bit angry about him. I want to beat his record.
“Yes, I think a lot about this. All week I think about this. I go to sleep and think about this. This is my dream now.”
Source : MMAFighting