The undefeated Khabib faces heavy-hitting interim lightweight title holder Gaethje in the main event at UFC 254 on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi on October 24.
The bout will be the first time Khabib has stepped into the octagon since the death of his father and trainer Abdulmanap at the age of 59 in July, after complications stemming from a Covid-19 infection.
In a clip of his preparations filmed by UFC Russia, Khabib discusses how training has always helped him guard against negative thoughts, and is a habit he inherited from his late father.
“I trained constantly, because to some extent it relieves depression from me,” said the Daestani fighter.
“I train all the time, I like it. When I don’t have training, I’m depressed. I’ve been training all my life… to have good energy, I need to train.
“My father was the same. He always trained. His friends always said that wherever they went, he always had a bag with him. First, he set up a place for himself to sleep, and then he looked for a gym to train.
“I think I got it from him. This is very important for me, because as long as I’m an active athlete, and as soon as I stop developing, it will be bad.”
During Nurmagomedov Sr’s lengthy battle with coronavirus complications, Khabib spoke about how he had continued to train and how it had raised a smile from his father whenever he visited him at his Moscow hospital bed.
Khabib, 32, is bidding to extend his undefeated record to 29-0 against the dangerous Gaethje. Should he have his armed raised on Yas Island, attention will turn to what may well be his final fight, with Abdulmanap widely believed to have harbored a wish for his son to reach the 30-0 mark before calling time on his career.
Khabib is set to continue his father’s coaching legacy this weekend when he corners teammate Zubaira Tukhugov for his bout on Fight Island against Hakim Dawodu.