Khabib Nurmagomedov is preparing to face fellow top ranked lightweight Edson Barboza in the co-main event of UFC 219.
The UFC has claimed many times over the years that the promotion is coming to Russia, which is something Nurmagomedov doesn’t think will ever happen.
“Every year they talk about, ‘Oh, UFC is coming to Russia,'” Nurmagomedov said at a UFC 219 media luncheon. “Every year. When I came (into the UFC) in 2012, they were beginning to talk about this. To be honest, I don’t believe it.”
While the promotion has yet to come to the country, a TV deal was signed with Match TV in Russia this past February.
One thing that Nurmagomedov readily admits is that doing business in Russia can be a very hard thing to do.
“I think the UFC has to come and make a deal, and they have to begin now,” he said. “After a couple years, I think they can make a lot of money with this. The UFC worked hard with Brazil. They made pay-per-views in Brazil and Canada. Now, they’re working with England. I think Russia is very big. They think Russia is small. No, Russia is very big. They have to come and work. But this is not going to be easy. Russian business is very hard.”
UFC 219 takes place on Saturday, December 30 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada with Cyborg and Holly Holm headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.