ABU DHABI, The international mixed martial artist Khabib Nurmagomedov said that he did not expect to succeed in his first fight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, UFC, held in the UAE and the Middle East.

He also pointed out that the enthusiastic atmosphere in the arena on Yas Island enabled him to focus and defeat his American opponent, Dustin Poirier, in the third round.

In his statement to the press today in Abu Dhabi, Nurmagomedov, who is the lightweight mixed martial arts champion, said that he owed his victory to his father, brothers, friends and supporters, and he was proud to fight in front of the crowd in Abu Dhabi, one of the safest cities in the world, a city that he loves and appreciates, along with Dubai.

"Mixed martial arts is a sport based on mutual respect between opponents, and I was undoubtedly exposed to a lot of pressure recently, so I need to rest for a while before I resume training and fighting. I would like to benefit from this opportunity and thank all my supporters who came to cheer for me from Dagestan," he added.

Commenting on his opponent, he noted, "Dustin gave a strong performance and he was not an easy opponent. I congratulate him on such a performance."

Poirier said that he faced a tough battle during his fight with Nurmagomedov, adding, "I hoped this fight would launch my career and accomplish a unique achievement. I was ready for this battle and I was not stressed about it at all. I must benefit from this experience, as it is a lesson I will not forget throughout my career."

The UFC is the first event of its kind to take place since the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi signed a five-year partnership with the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation in April. Ali Hassan Al Shiba, Acting Executive Director of the Tourism, Marketing and Communication Division at DCT Abu Dhabi, said that the emirate will benefit in the future from the success of the opening edition of the Abu Dhabi Challenge Week.

"The five-year partnership with the UFC is a key part of Abu Dhabi's agenda, which includes not only sporting events but also many cultural, artistic and recreational activities. This mixed martial arts event will attract many spectators from around the world and will increase the number of visiting tourists," he added.

Source: Emirates News Agency