UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was recently captured having a FaceTime call with Portuguese football icon Cristiano Ronaldo. A glimpse of the conversation was uploaded by Khabib’s friend and number 13-ranked lightweight star Islam Makhachev on his Instagram stories, who jokingly said afterwards that, “Khabib is putting together a serious team”. It’s well known that both Khabib Nurmagomedov and Cristiano Ronaldo are close friends who have been seen exchanging gifts and pleasantries every now and then.
A few months ago, when Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 and announced his retirement, Cristiano Ronaldo paid tribute to the MMA legend by posting an image of Khabib on Instagram with the caption, “Congrats bro! Your father is proud of you”. Later, The Eagle congratulated Ronaldo for winning the prestigious Golden Foot Award for his long-term contribution to football. “15 years at the top. Almost impossible,” the Russian wrote.
Before the Khabib vs Gaethje fight, Ronaldo had predicted that The Eagle will come out victorious. The Russian later reacted to the video, claiming that he “always talks” to the five-time Ballon d’Or winner. Not just Ronaldo, The UFC lightweight champion also had good relations with Karim Benzema and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. “I love football and have done so from a very young age and for me, they give me great energy,” he said at a press conference.
Nurmagomedov recently met former AC Milan and Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf, who was his late father’s “favourite football player”. Khabib’s influential father and trainer Abdulmanap passed away in July 2020 due to complications arising from COVID-19. Abdulmanap’s sudden departure was one of the main reasons why Khabib retired from the sport with an undefeated record of 29-0.
The Russian is currently in Dubai, preparing his cousin Umar Nurmagomedov for his upcoming fight at UFC 257. The 24-year-old is set to face Sergey Morozov on the undercard of the Conor McGregor vs Dustin Poirier 2 event. In addition, Khabib Nurmagomedov is also set to meet UFC president Dana White later this month where the two will discuss The Eagle’s future in the sport.