Khabib Nurmagomedov has been getting a lot of plaudits for his performance inside the Octagon at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi. Khabib made sure the capacity crowd in Abu Dhabi went home in a joyous state as he tapped out interim champion Dustin Poirier in the third round to retain his UFC Lightweight Championship. It was an immaculate display of grit by the Dagestani superstar, who never looked in danger despite Poirier locking in a guillotine choke in the third round.
With that win, Khabib improved his record to MMA record to a blemish-free 28-0. He is quickly becoming one of the most watched athletes in the world with dominance inside the Octagon and intense personality off it. He has a lot of admirers and one of them is none other than Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin in discussion with Khabib and his father.
Now landing in Dagestan after his win over Poirier, Khabib and his father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov was greeted by Putin and Vladimir Vasilyev, the head of the Republic of Dagestan. But what did Putin say to Khabib when he met with him?
“I want to congratulate you. It was a decent fight against a strong and tenacious rival,” Putin told Nurmagomedov (translation by RT sport).
Khabib has a well-known rivalry with former champion Conor McGregor, who he defeated in October, 2018. And the Russian managed to take a dig at the Irishman while replying to Putin.
“Yes, the opponent was strong and respectable. This time around I fought against a person who respected me,” Nurmagomedov said.
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Here is UFC President Dana White’s tweet:-
Russian President Vladimir Putin and the head of Dagestan Vladimir Vasiliev met with UFC champion @TeamKhabib and his father and coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov pic.twitter.com/utTEEMXWvj— Dana White (@danawhite) September 12, 2019
It is a well-known fact that Putin is a big supporter of combat sports and had earlier met with Khabib last year after UFC 229. Interestingly, Putin had met with McGregor during the Football World Cup in Russia. And he had a reply to Khabib while referencing ‘The Notorious’.
“Well it depends on the person,” Putin said clearly referencing McGregor.
“But of course a professional athlete should be like this. You had a convincing victory.
“I watched the fight, you submitted him with a rear-naked choke, it was a classic choke hold. You did it in the correct way, without squeezing his throat, but holding him on both sides of the neck, as it should be. It was all fair,” Putin concluded.
However, it might not be long before we see Khabib back in the Octagon as UFC would be looking to book a fight with Tony Ferguson at the end of this year.
Sep 13, 2019 13:36 IST