7 surprising facts about UFC champ Khabib ‘The Eagle’ Nurmagomedov

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Did you know the mixed martial arts star from Dagestan knows six languages? Read on to find out what other surprises does Khabib has up his sleeve!

The champion has already gone down in history as one of the world’s greatest fighters. He’s yet to be defeated. And, these days, practically everything is known about him. But there are a few interesting facts that you may be unaware of.

1. Khabib used to be a fan of Conor McGregor

Nowadays Khabib and the Irish fighter are sworn enemies. Their feud has been going on for several years now and their fans are still trying to work out who started it first. But this has not always been the case. In 2014, Conor McGregor was a rising UFC star, actively promoted by his managers. At the time, many fell under the Irishman's charm, including Khabib, who had already become popular himself. They met through Twitter: Sportswear brand Dethrone was promoting a new T-shirt in which the Irishman was to fight in and asked who else needed one.

“I like this T-shirt, I need it,” Khabib commented. “My man Khabib!!!” McGregor responded straight away, in his own comment. They agreed to meet up in person so that McGregor could give Khabib the T-shirt and they could train together. Then photographs of them together appeared. "With Conor McGregor. After his incredible victory. He is a dangerous guy," Khabib wrote in captions to the photos.

There are different versions of how their friendship ended. One of them is that one day journalists asked Conor how his friend Khabib was doing. The Irishman replied: “My friend Khabib? There are no friends in this business!” They say Nurmagomedov noted these words. 

2. Khabib almost became a bouncer in a nightclub

The idea of working as a security guard came to the fighter from Dagestan after two bad injuries in a row: In 2014, he suffered torn cruciate ligaments in his knee, and a year later, in the runup to a scheduled fight with Tony Ferguson, he broke a rib. Nurmagomedov wanted to end his career and, in order to continue providing for himself and his family (he was already married), was already considering a bouncer job to earn money. His father persuaded him against the move and insisted that he would provide for his son. “Your job is to eat well and go to the gym,” Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov said. “I told [Khabib] at the time that it took us such a long time to get this far, so he should not give up so quickly. He returned to the mat and started to sweat his guts out. And he never stopped,” recalls Khabib's father.

3. When he was a child, Khabib always lost

Khabib literally grew up on the mat. He started training at the age of five. The boy pursued all types of combat sports: Freestyle wrestling, judo, Greco-Roman wrestling, sambo, hand-to-hand combat, pankration, grappling and jiu-jitsu. His father entered him in every possible competition, but the boy, as a rule, never won first prize. And then severe fatigue took its toll. At the age of 13 and 14, Khabib was winning fifth or sixth place at all the republic’s competitions.

When he was 16, the number of martial arts he was engaged in went down to three, and it was then he started winning prizes. “It was in 2006 that he had his first taste of victory and started working harder. And already in 2008 every experienced mixed martial arts fighter feared fighting him,” says his father.

Khabib's first mixed martial arts fight against Vusal Bayramov from Azerbaijan, 2008.

4. Khabib is an economist and knows six languages

Khabib received a secondary vocational education: He graduated from the Makhachkala Finance and Economics College. Now, the 31-year-old athlete is getting a higher education - he is a fourth year student at the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics. In addition, Khabib speaks five languages: Kumyk (he has Kumyk relatives), his native Avar, Russian, Turkish and English. He can also read Arabic, but is too shy to speak it yet, according to his father.

5. Khabib has the most controversial manager in UFC history

His name is Ali Abdelaziz and his reputation in mixed martial arts has been balancing on the edge for years. The Egyptian-born Ali has an incredible background. 

He once crossed the U.S. border using a fake passport and had to face trial, but was acquitted, having lied about the death of his mother. Also in 2019, Ali went on trial for two punch-ups in Las Vegas. McGregor also didn't hesitate to once remind everyone that Ali had a son in Colorado who had never received any financial support from him.

Khabib met the promoter in 2014, and it was Abdelaziz who helped him overcome his personal crisis and organize proper medical treatment. Since then, Khabib's career has been on the up and up. He describes Ali as a brother and often posts photos of them together on social media.

6. Khabib can very quickly put on and shed weight

Between fights Khabib puts on a lot of excess weight, and each time he has to shed it extremely quickly. Once, he did so twice in a matter of three and a half months, and, in total, it was over 35 kilos. On average, after just two weeks of strength training, he gains about 20 kilos.

7. Khabib's wife is his relative

Not much is known about the UFC champion's wife - Khabib carefully protects his personal life from publicity. Apart from his family, close relatives and friends, no-one has even seen her face (we wrote about her here). It is known, however, that her name is Patimat, and her surname at

birth was the same as Khabib's - Nurmagomedova. Patimat and Khabib come from the same village, Sildi, and are distant relatives. Patimat was Khabib's first love, and they sat at the same desk at school - admittedly, for just a year. Then Khabib's family moved away. He returned to his native village and proposed to her when he became famous, in 2013.

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