Long-time coach Mark Henry has seen it all during his days as a coach and he’s been with champions like Frankie Edgar and Eddie Alvarez, but he believes that one of his young fighters is unlike someone many MMA fans have seen before. Zabit Magomedsharipov has taken the spotlight quickly in the featherweight division. Despite early adversity leading into his next fight at UFC 228, Mark Henry says Zabit has it all early in his career and that’s what makes him special.
Magomedsharipov was originally scheduled to face Yair Rodriguez earlier this year but then Rodriguez had issues with the UFC which led to his short-term release. Once Rodriguez was re-signed by the UFC, the matchup against Zabit was made but then those plans were cancelled as Rodriguez had to withdraw from the fight due to injury, and now Zabit will face Brandon Davis at UFC 228 in Dallas, Texas.
“Zabit mentally is as strong as his game is. That’s what makes champions great, the mental first. He is so strong-minded in all aspects. Stuff like this just rolls off his back. Having guys like Frankie, Eddie, and Marlon Moraes and the whole team we have around him makes it easy.”
Early into his training and coaching of Zabit, Mark Henry knew that he had a future world champion on his hands and it was easy to tell when he started sparring with his teammates in Henry’s camp.
“When you see the way he came in sparred with all of our guys and the way he held himself with them all, it just showed you everything. He’s really the first MMA guy that I seen is a natural. You see a baseball player and he’s got a natural swing and you see it in boxing or wrestling, but you don’t see it in MMA. To see a guy flow in so many aspects of the game, it just shows he’s a natural champion.”
While another win will only propel him further up the division rankings and having some talking about a title shot in the near future, Henry says the focus for Zabit is what’s in front of him at this present time.
“Whenever you fight, you never think around the block, let alone a mile away. If you take one fight at a time, everything will work out for itself. If he wins this fight, he’s 4-0 in the UFC and he’s right there, not many people can say they were 4-0 to start their UFC career. As far as title contention, I believe he could fight anyone right now. I’m 100% confident he can take the title today.”
With the focus sticking on Brandon Davis, Henry says the best way to stay successful early on is to remain locked in on the opponent in front of you and that’s what Zabit is doing.
“He’s got nothing to lose and he might be the underdog and sometimes those are the most dangerous fighters. He’s going to be beyond dangerous. He comes to fight and he’s just dangerous. We’ve seen these hype trains derail before and we want to make sure the Zabit train keeps moving. That’s why I have a lot of confidence in Zabit because I’ve seen guys win and they lose track, Zabit’s not doing that. He’s staying humble.”
As Zabit Magomedsharipov inches closer to stardom early on in his young UFC career, his coach Mark Henry believes that it’s his humbleness and natural talent that have gotten him this far. Zabit and Henry are not looking past Brandon Davis at UFC 228, they remain focused on the task at hand.
Listen to the full Mark Henry interview via “On The Mic”