The first Muslim mixed martial arts world champion, Russia’s Khabib Nurmagomedov, will fight the former UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor on Sunday morning in one of the most anticipated contests in recent years.
“Khabib,” as he is universally known, is a devout Muslim and is unbeaten in 26 fights – the longest undefeated run in MMA history and remarkable in a sport where even the most dominant champions usually experience defeat. If you’re one to bet and gamble on the outcome of sports matches, and you fancy trying to win it big, you could take a look at sites like betting.com, for all your betting needs.
Khabib is renowned for his extraordinary wrestling skills, although his boxing game isn’t thought to be as strong as the Irishman’s. Nevertheless, Khabib starts as slight favourite for Sunday morning’s bout in Las Vegas.
The build-up to the fight has been marred by the Irishman’s insults which have targeted Khabib’s religion and family.
In Thursday’s news conference, Khabib said that fight was now “personal,” adding that all questions “would be answered on Saturday.”
“Conor can say what he wants. Nobody cares about him. When we go to the cage, we’ll see who can talk,” he said. “For me, this is more than defending my title. For me, it’s personal. This is the biggest fight in UFC history and we’re going to break numbers, but for me, this is personal.”
On the other hand, McGregor has vowed to “show who the king is.” He added: “Khabib is petrified. I want him to show up for the fight.”
McGregor’s last appearance in UFC came in November 2016 when he beat Eddie Alvarez to add the lightweight belt to his featherweight title. He was later stripped of both titles because of inactivity, with Khabib being installed as lightweight champion earlier this year.
“My heart is black towards this man,” McGregor said. “It’s deeper than just a fight on Saturday night,” he said. “If you can’t aim for peace, aim between the eyes. This is never over. I’m starving for this man’s head. I am going to eat him alive. There is no one hungrier than me in this game.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov was born on September 20, 1988 in modern-day Dagestan, Russia.
As is common with many children in Dagestan, he began wrestling from an early age – he started at the age of eight under the tutelage of his father Abdulmanap.
In 2001, his family moved to Machachkala, where he trained in wrestling at age 12 and Judo from age 15. He began training in combat sambo again at 17 under his father.