Khabib Nurmagomedov Picks Toughest Fight of His Career- And it’s Not Conor McGregor

Published 12/29/2020, 1:55 PM EST
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 06: Khabib Nurmagomedov interacts with media during the UFC 249 press conference at T-Mobile Arena on March 06, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov did not travel an easy road to the UFC lightweight championship. The 29-0 Russian beat the best of the best to cement his legacy at 155 pounds. Nurmagomedov was also ranked as the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world following his win over Justin Gaethje.

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – OCTOBER 25: Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia celebrates his victory over Justin Gaethje in their lightweight title bout during the UFC 254 event on October 25, 2020 on UFC Fight Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Khabib has had to deal with a lot during his professional career. Coming from Dagestan, Nurmagomedov would move to the American Kickboxing Academy where he would train with the likes of champions such as Daniel Cormier, Cain Velasquez, and Luke Rockhold. All three have been UFC champions, and Khabib has kept the proud A.K.A tradition alive.

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Hardest fight of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s career

Speaking to Russian media in a recent interview, Khabib spoke on several topics. Nurmagomedov has been keeping fans guessing since his apparent retirement following his win at UFC 254. ‘The Eagle’ would go on to describe the toughest fight of his career.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – OCTOBER 25: Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia reacts after his submission victory over Justin Gaethje in their lightweight title bout during the UFC 254 event on October 25, 2020 on UFC Fight Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Nurmagomedov told the media, “I didn’t have easy fights. Maybe from the outside, it seemed so. But the hardest was in 2012 when I was 24. It was a fight against Gleison Tibau.

“Then he was on a good winning streak and was in the top 15 best lightweights in the world. This fight was difficult both emotionally and physically.”

‘The Eagle’ had faced the Brazilian in only his second fight in the UFC. Despite a close fight, it was the Russian who would come out on top to earn a unanimous decision win.

Nurmagomedov has also been plagued with weight cutting issues in the past but has seemingly found the right system.

Will Khabib fight again in the UFC?

UFC President Dana White has seemed positive that Nurmagomedov will return to the octagon. However, the champion has shown no signs of coming out of his retirement.

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Nurmagomedov had made a promise to his mother that UFC 254 would be his last fight following the tragic passing of his father.

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 20: Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov faces-off with Conor McGregor during the UFC 229 Press Conference at Radio City Music Hall on September 20, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier are set to headline UFC 257 in January. Nurmagomedov has submitted both lightweights and believes that the promotion has no one that can entice him to fight again. He also believes that the winner would be crowned the new lightweight world champion.

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Keith Dsouza

193 articles

Keith D'Souza is part of the Essentially Sports MMA writing team. Having followed the sport since 2013, some of his favorite fighters include Max Holloway, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Conor McGregor, and Johny Hendricks. Keith also runs PureMMAIndia, a brand that promotes MMA over social media which aims at growing the sport in India.

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