Khabib Nurmagomedov Career: The Richest Athlete in Russia

Khabib Nurmagomedov is one of the strongest fighters in the history of mixed martial arts. During his career, Khabib won 28 victories and did not suffer a single defeat. Khabib Nurmagomedov became the richest athlete in Russia after defeating McGregor.

Nurmagomedov was a fan of Fedor Emelianenko, became the first UFC champion from Russia, and his fight with Tony Ferguson was canceled five times.

As a Child, Nurmagomedov Was Trained By His Father

House of Khabib Nurmagomedov | Khabib Nurmagomedov became the richest athlete in Russia after Defeated McGregor
Khabib’s house is no different from Sidi’s other houses. Because of this, the neighbors respect Nurmagomedov even more. Photo:


The ancestral village of Khabib – Sildi. About 220 people live in Sildi. The village has only a mosque and a school. The home of Khabib is the same as that of the rest of the inhabitants of Sildi, from its windows a view of the mountains.

All the men in the family were associated with martial arts. Khabib’s father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov is a former Zambian, was engaged in freestyle wrestling. Abdulmanap is a former champion of Ukraine in sambo and judo who has trained 18 world champions.

After finishing his career, he became a coach. Khabib’s paternal uncle was a world champion in sports sambo, and his maternal uncle was a master of sports in freestyle wrestling.

Abdulmanap said that his son took his first steps on wrestling mats. When Khabib was 2 years old, his father began to train him: he taught him to do somersaults and run. At the age of 5, Khabib began to study basic wrestling techniques.

As a child, Khabib and his cousin Abubakar fought with a bear cub. Such training was arranged for children by Abdulmanap, who was watching what was happening.

In 2001, the Nurmagomedov family moved to Makhachkala. Abdulmanap equipped a gym, where he began to train his son and local children.

As a Teenager, Khabib Was a Fan of Fedor Emelianenko

One day, Khabib’s friends showed him a recording of a fight without rules. Nurmagomedov liked mixed martial arts (MMA), and he wanted to try himself in this sport. Khabib’s favorite fighter was the Russian Fedor Emelianenko, who was at the peak of his career in the 2000s. Khabib said many times in interviews that he considers Emelianenko the best fighter in the history of mixed martial arts.

Fedor Emelianenko is a Russian MMA fighter, four-time world champion in mixed martial arts according to the Pride version.

Nurmagomedov asked his father to send him to the martial arts section related to striking technique, and not just wrestling. Abdulmanap saw the potential of his son and believed that Khabib should be a well-rounded fighter. First, Nurmagomedov began to practice judo, and then – combat sambo.

Khabib Nurmagomedov at the professional pankration tournament | Khabib Nurmagomedov became the richest athlete in Russia after Defeated McGregor
Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov said that Khabib began to show great potential and talent when he was 16-17 years old. Photo:

At 22, Nurmagomedov Became a Two-Time World Champion in Combat Sambo

Nurmagomedov had a successful amateur career. He performed in various types of martial arts and achieved high results. Khabib became the champion of Russia in hand-to-hand fighting, the European champion in pankration, and the world champion in grappling.

After several injuries, Nurmagomedov almost ended his sports career. Khabib wanted to get a job as a security guard in order to start making money and helping his family. Father dissuaded Nurmagomedov.

Khabib achieved the greatest success in combat sambo. In 2010, two world championships in this sport were held at once – in April in Kiev and in December in Moscow. Nurmagomedov won both tournaments. In Kiev, he competed in the weight category up to 74 kg, in Moscow – up to 82 kg.

The world championships, which Nurmagomedov won, are not considered official in Russia. They were organized by the World Combat Sambo Federation (WCSF). The official championships are held by the International Sambo Federation (FIAS). Khabib did not participate in tournaments under the auspices of FIAS.

Nurmagomedov Made His UFC Debut in 2012

Khabib Nurmagomedov and Kamal Shalorus | Khabib Nurmagomedov became the richest athlete in Russia after Defeated McGregor
Khabib had his 1st fight in the UFC against Kamal Shalorus. At that time, Khabib was 23 years old, his rival was 39.


In parallel with his amateur career, Nurmagomedov performed in mixed martial arts. Khabib had his first fight according to the rules of MMA on September 13, 2008, at the CSFU: Champions League tournament. Nurmagomedov defeated Azerbaijani Vusal Bayramov by submission in the first round.

In 2011, Khabib finally switched to MMA and stopped competing in other disciplines. In total, in 2011, Nurmagomedov fought 7 fights according to the rules of mixed martial arts. In all fights, Khabib won early victories: three times by technical knockout and chokehold, once by painful hold.

In 2012, Nurmagomedov signed a contract with the world’s largest mixed martial arts organization, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

On January 20, 2012, Nurmagomedov made his promotional debut at the UFC on FX: Guillard vs Miller tournament. Khabib defeated Iranian Kamal Shalorus by rear-naked choke in the third round.

In 2018 Nurmagomedov Became UFC Champion and Defeated Conor McGregor

By 2018, Nurmagomedov had 9 fights in the UFC. Khabib won all fights: 4 times ahead of schedule, 5 times by unanimous decision. The UFC management allowed Nurmagomedov to the title fight. On April 7, 2018, Khabib defeated American Al Iaquinta by unanimous decision to become the UFC lightweight champion.

In the same year, Nurmagomedov fought another battle. On October 6, Irishman Conor McGregor became his rival.

Conor McGregor is one of the most famous mixed martial arts fighters. During his career, he spent 26 fights, in which he achieved 22 victories. McGregor is the only fighter in UFC history to have won two weight classes at the same time – light and welterweight.

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor | Khabib Nurmagomedov became the richest athlete in Russia after Defeated McGregor
In the fight with Khabib, Conor McGregor spent the energy-consuming first two rounds and lost all his strength by the decisive fourth. Photo:


Khabib dominated throughout the fight and won with a submission to the jaw in the fourth round. After the fight, Nurmagomedov jumped out of the octagon and almost started a massive fight with McGregor’s team.

The scuffle after the fight stems from a long-standing conflict between Nurmagomedov and McGregor. Starting in 2016, the fighters spoke impartially about each other in interviews. In April 2018, Khabib hit McGregor’s sparring partner Artyom Lobov in the lobby of a hotel in New York. Two days later, McGregor broke the window of the minibus in which Khabib was traveling, throwing a chair into the car.

Khabib Wins All 28 Professional Fights

Khabib won 16 mixed martial arts fights before joining the UFC. Nurmagomedov’s winning streak in the UFC is 12 fights – the sixth-best in promotion history.

Athlete Record UFC winning streak
Anderson Silva 16
Georges Saint-Pierre 13
Demetrius Johnson 13
Max Holloway 13
John jones 13
Khabib Nurmagomedov 12
Tony Ferguson 12

On May 25, 2013, in a fight against American Abel Trujillo, Habib transferred his opponent to the ground 21 times. This is the record of a promotion for the most takedowns in one fight.

Khabib Nurmagomedov in a fur hat | Khabib Nurmagomedov became the richest athlete in Russia after Defeated McGregor
For each fight, Khabib comes out in a traditional headdress – a papakha. At the meeting, Khabib presented hats to many athletes – Mike Tyson, Cristiano Ronaldo. Photo:

Nurmagomedov’s Basic Style in The UFC is Wrestling

The first years of training shaped Khabib’s fighting style. Nurmagomedov began his sports career as a freestyle wrestler, then went in for judo. Therefore, he tries to transfer opponents to the ground and rarely fights in a standing position.

Khabib has flaws in his striking technique because he has never boxed. Nurmagomedov’s blows are not powerful enough. He rarely ends fights with knockouts – only 2 wins in the UFC.

Nurmagomedov is one of the strongest wrestlers among MMA representatives. Habib’s extensive experience in judo and sambo competitions helps him to effectively carry out takedowns. During his UFC career, Nurmagomedov transferred opponents to the ground 59 times – the 8th result in the history of the promotion.

After the takedowns, Nurmagomedov is actively working on the ground and does not allow his opponents to return to the standing position. 54.4% of his fights in the UFC, Khabib controlled rivals in wrestling – the 9th best in the history of the promotion. Nurmagomedov strikes a lot on the ground, constantly trying to carry out a painful or suffocating hold.

Khabib Nurmagomedov conducts choke hold against Conor McGregor
After the fight with Conor, Khabib said that the Irishman prevented him from conducting a chokehold – he dropped his chin. Then Khabib began to put pressure on Conor’s jaw and almost broke it.

Nurmagomedov’s Fight Against Tony Ferguson Was Canceled 5 times

UFC President Dana White tried five times to organize Nurmagomedov’s fight against one of the strongest lightweight fighters American Tony Ferguson. Each time the duel was thwarted.

The first time Nurmagomedov and Ferguson could meet in 2015. The fight was scheduled for December 31, but on July 5, Khabib suffered a severe knee injury and withdrew.

A new fight between the athletes was scheduled for April 16, 2016. This time, the reason for the cancellation was Ferguson’s condition. 10 days before the fight, the American was found to have fluid and blood in his lungs.

The fight was then scheduled for March 4, 2017. The winner of the bout would receive the interim UFC lightweight title. The fight was canceled six hours before the start of the tournament. Due to the intense weight loss, Khabib developed liver and kidney problems. Nurmagomedov was hospitalized, and the fight was canceled.

The battle was again postponed to April 7, 2018. Six days before the announced date, Ferguson came to the FOX studio for an interview. After the broadcast, he tripped over a television cable, fell, and injured his knee.

Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov in a duel of views | Khabib Nurmagomedov became the richest athlete in Russia after Defeated McGregor
Ferguson insulted Khabib more than once. When Nurmagomedov pulled out of the April 2020 bout, Tony called Khabib a “rag” and said his career was over.  

After the fourth fight between Nurmagomedov and Ferguson was canceled, UFC President Dana White promised that he would never organize a fight again. White broke his sword and was about to arrange a fight between the fighters on April 18, 2020. This time, both athletes were ready to meet, but the tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Nurmagomedov is One of The Highest-Paid Russian Athletes

In 2019, Forbes magazine published a list of the highest-paid Russian athletes. The rating was headed by Nurmagomedov. According to the publication, Khabib earned $ 11.5 million in a year.

Nurmagomedov also earns from advertising. In 2019, Khabib was the face of the Toyota car and the Gorilla energy drink.

The highest-paid fight for Nurmagomedov was the fight against McGregor. For the victory over the Irishman, Khabib received $ 10 million.

In 2019, Nurmagomedov Was Twice in The Center of Scandals

First, Khabib criticized the play “The Hunt for Men”, which was shown in Makhachkala on February 23. During the performance, the actors were on stage half-naked.

Nurmagomedov wrote a post on Instagram, in which he called “The Hunt for Men” “pornography” and demanded that the Dagestan authorities respond to the show. After that, the actors involved in the play began to receive threats on social networks.

In August, Nurmagomedov posted on Instagram a video with a fragment of the concert of the rap duo HammAli & Navai, which took place in Makhachkala in June. The athlete criticized the creativity of the artists. In September, the performance of singers Yegor Creed and MC Doni from the Black Star label was canceled in Makhachkala.

The founder of Black Star, rapper Timati, linked the cancellation of concerts with Nurmagomedov’s statements. Then Timati and Khabib exchanged impartial posts on Instagram. The conflict was settled by the head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov. He turned to Timati and Nurmagomedov through social networks and asked to stop the showdown.

Khabib Got Married in 2013

Khabib married a Patimat girl. The young people met in the native village of Khabib Sildi when they were at school. More than 1200 people came to the wedding of Khabib and Patimat. The girl’s face was hidden under the veil. Nurmagomedov adheres to strict Muslim traditions, according to which the beauty of a wife should belong only to her husband.

Wedding of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Patimat
Conor McGregor insulted Khabib’s wife by posting photos from Nurmagomedov’s wedding on Twitter and captioning them: “Boy, you married a towel.” He soon had to delete the entry due to criticism from Muslims


Nurmagomedov never takes Patimat with him when preparing for battles. Khabib says that his wife distracts him from the training process.

Habib and Patimat have three children: a daughter and two sons. Nurmagomedov wants his sons to practice martial arts but does not yet know if they will be professional athletes.

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