What is the secret to Khabib Nurmagomedov‘s 29-0 record? Many have tried to replicate his spotless run. Many have tried to evaluate his success. But it seems Joe Rogan has the answer to this question. He has interviewed several UFC fighters, including the Dagestani, and being so close in proximity to them, he sees a difference that sets the former UFC lightweight champion miles apart.

In a new discussion with Royce Gracie on the JRE MMA Show #156, Rogan discussed countries that produced some really great fighters. Without a doubt, Russia was in the discussion. The UFC color commentator then brought up the element of Russian wrestlers. “Of course you got those guys from Dagestan. That’s an interesting element too. Those Russian wrestlers.”

However, Gracie claimed that it wasn’t wrestling that made the Dagestani fighters so strong. I don’t think just because of their wrestling. I think it’s because of their discipline. And I tell a lot of people that those guys don’t think about anything else. Just train,” said the BJJ legend. Rogan agreed that they were indeed pretty religious, disciplined, and very focused. 


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But Gracie wasn’t done. He further said, “There’s no the girlfriend, or wife. They’re not thinking about any of that!” That’s when Rogan again chimed in, claiming that they didn’t even party. The BJJ legend then said that all the Dagestani fighters did was eat, sleep, and train. “So yeah, they don’t [care] about anything else. They’re just more, I think they’re more disciplined than this side of the world.”

via Imago

That makes complete sense, doesn’t it? In fact, Royce Gracie’s opinion might take us back to UFC 229: Khabib Nurmagomedov versus Conor McGregor. Their personalities were polar opposites. While the Russian Nurmagomedov was seen as a disciplined, stoic, religious, and no-nonsense guy, McGregor- the Irishman- was the loud-mouthed, trash-talking, reckless personality.

Could we see a 2.0 of this with Islam Makhachev- Nurmagomedov’s teammate- and Colby Covington? Makhachev is ready to move to welterweight, take on a second weight class, and become a champion there. In fact, in 2023, when people got to know about the Russian’s welterweight aspirations, he was immediately pitted against the American. While there is no surety of Makhachev versus Covington taking place, it is a matchup that would grab attention.

But coming back to Joe Rogan’s discussion about Russian fighters, this isn’t the first time he has tried to dissect what makes them so unique.


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What Joe Rogan loves about Khabib Nurmagomedov’s team!

In a previous episode of ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’, the podcaster explained the secret behind Dagestani fighters’ performance. And the very first reason was that they don’t have distractions. He explained, “Like the guys that are from Khabib Nurmagomedov’s camp are some of the most dominant fighters. They wear their hair all exactly the same way. They practice. All they care about is family, religion, training. They don’t chase girls, they don’t drink. They are just training constantly like insanely dedicated to their craft. And they are the most dominant.”

Furthermore, the JRE host commended the team for the simple and humble lifestyle they lead, despite being wealthy. He provided his guest, Mike Baker, with Nurmagomedov’s example. Rogan revealed that even though ‘The Eagle’ earned quite a bit of money, he drove a Toyota truck, lived in the same house, and devoted his everything to mentoring other fighters. And Islam Makhachev is one of them.


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After Nurmagomedov retired, he continued to train with his team and mentor them. So is it surprising that Makhachev is the UFC’s lightweight champion today? He holds the same belt that Nurmagomedov once had.

The appreciation the JRE host has for the Dagestani wrestlers is indeed palpable. With their discipline and training, the fighters have found a place for themselves. But what do you think? What makes the fighters from Dagestan so strong?