By Danny Armstrong
Danny Armstrong is a Moscow-based British journalist, reporter and presenter for RT Sport. Follow him on Twitter @DannyWArmstrong
World light-heavyweight champion Arutr Beterbiev insists he will talk with close friend Georges St-Pierre and fellow Russian fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov should he make the decision to cross over into mixed martial arts.
Russian-born Beterbiev defends his WBC and IBF light-heavyweight titles against fellow Germany-based fellow Russian Adam Deines in Moscow on Saturday.
The 36-year-old Beterbiev has for his entire professional career trained and lived full-time in Montreal, Canada, where he enjoys the counsel of friend, UFC legend, and hometown hero St-Pierre.
“We haven’t had a serious talk about it yet. When I get back to Canada I’ll speak with him,” Beterbiev told RT Sport during the open training session for his fight with Deines in the Russian capital.
Beterbiev admitted GSP “from time to time he gives me all different kinds of advice” on his boxing career, so it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to believe he would take on a consigliere role if the Olympian decided to switch to the cage.
Asked whether he will also hold talks with Dagestan’s Khabib, Beterbiev was sure he could also count on advisory words from the 155 lbs champion to support a possible debut.
“Of course I will! If I decide to cross over into MMA I think they will help me,” he said.
Saturday’s fight will be the first of the career of Beterbiev, who was born in Dagestan of Chechen origin, in his home nation and a return to the city in which he was crown European amateur champion in 2010.
“It’s different. It’s professional boxing so now there’s more motivation and more responsibility. Back then we were a collective, the Russian national team. Now I am on my own,” Beterbiev said of his return.
UFC head honcho Dana White confirmed recently that Khabib is “100% officially retired”, which could pave the way for a coaching career should Beterbiev want to include the 29-0 champion in his team for an MMA bow.