Khabib “the Eagle” Nurmagomedov is a Russian mixed martial artist and the current UFC lightweight champion. Known as one of the greatest wrestlers in MMA, Khabib is also a two-time Combat Sambo World Champion and a Judo black belt.
He’s a world-class grappler with a striking background who has successfully translated his skills to MMA!
Early life and training
Khabib Nurmagomedov was born on September 20, 1988 in Makhachkala, Dagestan, Russia. Khabib grew up in the poverty-stricken country of Afghanistan where he learned much about judo and wrestling to survive.
He trained with his father Abdulmanap at a very young age to become a professional fighter.
Khabib’s father is the Combat Sambo coach for the Russian national team and he believes it is important to train young athletes early in their life.
“I started this work with children when I was 14 or 15 years old. I had my first MMA fights at 17, so I didn’t have an amateur career.” Abdulmanap said in an interview with Bloody Elbow.
“I have trained many people, but no one dedicated themselves so much to MMA as Khabib. He is the most dedicated of all.”
Professional MMA career
Khabib has become a living legend among his people after he became world champion at just 21 years of age. At that time, he became the youngest fighter in history to win the title.
“When I won, people were so happy. The hall was decorated with flags of Russia and Dagestan, people shouted my name all over Makhachkala.” Nurmagomedov told GQ.
Khabib is known for his ability to take the fight wherever he wants and his grappling prowess and is currently undefeated in the UFC (24-0).
Khabib Nurmagomedov also won a gold medal at the 2009 World Championships, as well as a bronze medal at the 2007 World Championships. He was then entered into the quarter-finals of the 2012 Summer Olympics; however, he sustained a knee injury and had to withdraw from the competition.
International Sambo Federation World Championships:
- Gold medal (-74 kg, 2009)
- Bronze medal (-86 kg, 2007)
- Olympic Games: Quarter finalist (-86 kg, 2012)
- World Combat Sambo Championship: Gold medal (open weight +100kg, 2017)
- Grand Prix Kudo: Quarter finalist (2015)
- Russian National MMA Championship: Gold medal (2011)
- European Championship in amateur MMA: Gold medal (2010)
- Mixed martial arts record Currently 24-0
His last fight was against Edson Barboza on April 19, 2019.
Why does Khabib wear an afro?
Many have asked this question, wondering why does Khabib wear the blonde afro on his head. People tend to think that this is a wig, but it’s actually a hat called papakha.
The accessory is native to Nurmagomedov’s homeland in Dagestan, a southern area of Russia. Khabib wears this specific type of papakha out of pride in his Avar culture.
Made of shaggy sheep’s skin and wool, then adjusted with a basic rope, the papakha is actually worn in many countries. Shepherds in the mountains of Dagestan wear it to keep warm.
The first recorded wearing of a papakha came in the 17th and 18th century. The hat signifies that the wearer is strong and self-sufficient from life in the mountains.
Khabib now has four sons with his wife. After winning the UFC belt at just 24 years old, Khabib announced that he was going to retire from fighting.
The Eagle took a break for a year before changing his mind and deciding to fight again.
“I want to be a good example for them,” Khabib said. “I want them to be proud of me.”
On February 3rd 2019, Khabib announced that he would retire from MMA after responding to Conor McGregor’s challenge on social media!
Khabib’s legendary status is unrivaled. He hopes to prove to the world that he is not just the best MMA fighter, but the best player in the world.
“I want to show everybody that if I can do it, why not other people?” Khabib said in an interview with GQ magazine.
“I want to be the best in history. I know if I am not doing this, it is very bad for me.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov is an iconic figure that has already created history in the MMA world. He continues to show his dominance inside and outside of the octagon.