Hasbulla Magomedov has stepped up his training for his upcoming ‘fight’ with fellow influencer Abdu Rozik by training at Khabib Nurmagomedov’s family gym.
The Russian social media star is known in some circles as the ‘mini Khabib’, and has amassed over 2.2million Instagram followers after going viral across TikTok and Instagram for a ‘press conference’ with Rozik.
And he has been spotted in the gym that Khabib’s father Abdulmanap opened in Dagestan, training with some local fighters and throwing punches.
The Nurmagomedov School of MMA, which was established by Khabib’s late father, is home to a number of young fighters in the region who are looking to become elite like the UFC legend.
Magoemdov, who is known mostly as simply ‘Hasbulla’ or his nickname ‘Hasbik’ was a relatively well known internet celebrity in Russia with videos of him pretending to fight children, but blew up this year, garnering millions of followers.
He has met legendary UFC champion Nurmagomedov multiple times, and recently posted a photo with the former fighter after being posted on his feed.
Magomedov is 18 years old, but he’s only 3 foot 4 inches tall, and weighs just 36 lbs due to a growth deficiency that keeps him looking like a child.
A popular amateur fighter named Asxab Tamaev discovered Hasbulla on social media and began to feature him in posts, and the pair struck gold when they organised a ‘press conference’ that was to lead to a fight with Rozik, who is a year younger.
The viral press conference drew replies from top fighters including Henry Cejudo, Khabib and even influencer-turned-boxer brothers Jake and Logan Paul.
Ahead of his exhibition bout with Floyd Mayweather in Miami last month, Paul joked that he wanted the Russian star to walk him out to the ring.
“I know as long as I channel my inner Hasbulla, the greatest fighter of our time, we are going to get the job done,” Paul joked with reporters.
“I’m channeling him. The fiercest warrior the world has ever seen. We love Hasbulla.”
However, the potential bout has yet to take place, months after the press conference, and it appears that the relationship between Hasbulla and Tamaev has gone south.
The duo shared a number of Instagram posts about one another on social media, with Tamaev alleging that Hasbulla turned down an offer of 7million rubles (equivalent £69,000) to do the fight.
He claimed in a post in Russian that Abdu Rozik was willing to ‘fight for free’, while Magomedov was demanding 20m rubles (£196,000).
Hasbulla responded that his parents had told him not to take the fight, which came under criticism from human rights groups in Russia and abroad.
Uliana Uliana Podpalnaya; the head of the Russian Dwarf Athletic Association, has condemned the fight as “unethical” and “wrong”, telling Gazeta.RU that it “wasn’t even an exhibition”.
“It’s not even like a show fight, they get paid a lot of money and it’s a show to make people laugh,” Uliana said.
“There’s nothing serious about this, this isn’t sport – this is unethical, wrong, from my point of view.
“Events like this don’t draw attention to the sport of little people. If interest in this appears, it’s only because a lot of money is being invested in it.
“And from the point of view of the sports career growth of these guys, there are no prospects.”