Featherweight is one of the most exciting divisions in the UFC. First of all, you have champion Alexander Volkanovski. The Australian has a fantastic body of work, with the likes of Max Holloway, Jose Aldo, and Chad Mendes all falling victim to ‘The Great.” Then you have the likes of Chan Sung Jung, Brian Ortega, Holloway himself, and Calvin Kattar all in contention.
But one of the most exciting 145lbers is Zabit Magomedsharipov. Hailing from Dagestan, Russia, Zabit is a phenomenal martial artist. He’s an expert in Wushu and combines incredibly artistic striking with a superb ground game. He’s also extraordinarily tall for the weight class, so he’s a tough customer to deal with.
Right now, he’s back in his native Dagestan. The primarily Islamic autonomous region is known for its mountains and stark landscape. Obviously, Zabit is struggling to find a place to train because his latest sparring partner was a goat. And no, we’re not talking about Artem Lobov.
I love Zabit but it’s early days in his career to be fight the GOAT??
— Stanky MMA (@Stankmaster_mma) April 19, 2020
For some reason, Zabit decided to go head-to-head with the biggest, meanest goat this side of the Ural mountains. The size of the horns on the animal are ridiculous. We don’t know what he’s thinking. But obviously the logic is that if you can fight a goat, you can fight a UFC champion. The goat doesn’t look happy because it lowers its head with the obvious intention of attacking.
Then it rises up on its hind legs, standing over six feet tall. It’s quite an intimidating sight. Zabit backs off which is probably the smart thing to do. You don’t want to be gored by those horns. The footage was initially shared on social media by Zabit and was later picked up by Russia’s RT Sport.
why the hell did they let khabib wrestle a bear pic.twitter.com/hh8IGbhdVL
— trey (@TreyfromNY) December 14, 2019
This isn’t the first time that a Russian fighter has confronted an animal. Of course, there’s famous footage of a young Khabib Nurmgamedov rolling with a bear cub. That clip has added to the lightweight champion’s mystique. But Khabib did attract a lot of criticism when he was filmed last year antagonizing a young bear on a chain.
However, it’s easy to judge from the other side of the world. Dagestan is a very tough place to grow up. The men that come out of there are some of the hardest on the planet. There has been a huge increase in their numbers in MMA promotions like the UFC and ONE Championship.
Did Zabit improve his cardio by taking on the goat? If the Russian fighter has one flaw it’s definitely the fact that he can gas out. After dominating Calvin Kattar for three rounds, he barely held on for the win in his previous fight. This is something he’ll need to resolve very soon and quickly.
If he can adjust to fighting five rounds without losing a lot of energy then he’ll be a real threat to Volkanovski. Zabit moves like no other fighter on the roster. He has the potential to be great. But it’s up to him to maximize his potential.