Khabib Nurmagomedov retired from MMA after defeating Justin Gaethje at the main event of UFC 254, finishing his incredible career with an undefeated record. In his 29 fights, Khabib Nurmagomedov was never KO’d and didn’t receive a single scratch on his body. Though The Eagle was dominant in his pro career, his amateur career was not as perfect.
When Nurmagomedov was just 17, he competed in a Russian Combat Sambo tournament, making it to the finals. However, in the last stage, The Eagle was bested by Magomed Ibragimov. Nurmagomedov, who has been wrestling since his childhood, took up judo at the age of 15 and eventually learned Combat Sambo from his late father and coach, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. Even though he was a prodigy, he received tough competition from Ibragimov, who went on to win bronze medals at the 2016 Olympics and 2018 Asian Games.
The amateur bout between the two was intense as the fighters traded some vicious punches and takedown. Unfortunately, Ibragimov came out victorious, prompting the Eagle to slump to the floor and cry. Ibragimov, however, showed great sportsmanship as he consoled Khabib Nurmagomedov and gave him a hug.
It seems that Khabib Nurmagomedov took the defeat to his heart and learned from his mistakes as he went on to dominate the sport after that. He became a two-time Combat Sambo World Champion, before moving to MMA and joining UFC. His MMA career was also legendary, with wins over top contenders like Dustin Poirier, Rafael dos Anjos, Michael Johnson, Edson Barboza, Conor McGregor, Justin Gaethje and many others.
Because of his phenomenal career, Khabib Nurmagomedov was moved to the top of the UFC pound-for-pound ranking, which was majorly dominated by former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones for years. Apart from that, Khabib Nurmagomedov surpassed NBA legend LeBron James, American golfer Dustin Johnson, Swedish pole-vaulter Armand Duplantis, and French footballer Wendie Renard to win the BBC “World Sport Star Of The Year” Award. In doing so, he also became the first-ever UFC fighter to win the prestigious award, since its inception in 1960.