It’s been more than a year since Khabib Nurmagomedov retired from professional wrestling. And while writing this, I can reflect on the events and canvas of the days when this guy was on top of the world. Khabib Nurmagomedov was more than just a free-style wrestler; he was an ideology. He is still the second most followed Muslim athlete globally, next to Egyptian footballer Mo Salah.
Born in 1988 in Slide, a village in Dagestan, Khabib was different. His father was a wrestler turned coach who taught young boys an alternative to Islamist extremism. A nine-year-old Khabib was put to flight with a bear cub by his father. Yes, a bear cub! But the young boy did not shove off and plunged against the bear. The video of this fight is still available on the internet. The young boy was an epitome of Dagestani culture, reflecting the region’s bravery. But above all, the boy had a talent, a special one.
Two decades later, Khabib Nurmagomedov accumulated an undefeated record of 29 consecutive victories at Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). 13 of these victories came at Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). UFC is the world’s most commercial and followed fighting event and has a vast fan following worldwide. Khabib’s success at that stage did wonders for him and his nation and his religion.
AMBASSADOR OF RELIGION
Khabib has been an ambassador of Islam. “Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God), God gave me everything” were amongst his first words in his retirement speech. He had no tattoos on his body and thanking God after every win was his routine. It made him a popular and influential personality in Russia. He used his influence to remove un-Islamic practices from his native land. He campaigned against the closing of all nightclubs and criticized Egor Kreed’s rap concert, which canceled his performances. He was vocal against scenes that depicted ‘filth’ or scenes that were against the Islamic ideology.
BRAVERY VS DISGRACE
One of Khabib’s most famous victories, in fact, the most popular, is against Conor Mcgregor. Mcgregor is an Irish boxer. He and Khabib shared mutual respect. However, some chain of events turned this hate into hatred towards each other. Reports state the Mcgregor’s guys tried to kill two of Khabib’s fellows. Mcgregor insulted Khabib’s father, nation, and religion. They both had a face-off at UFC in 2018, where Khabib emerged victoriously. The Russian boxer dominated from the word went and marked an end to Mcgregor’s disgrace.
On March 18, 2021, UFC confirmed that UFC lightweight champion had announced his retirement from professional wrestling. His unbroken streak of 29-0 remained intact. After his 29th fight, Khabib revealed that he had promised his mother regarding this being the last fight. Thus, a brute and dominant career came to an end.
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