Khabib Nurmagomedov was born on September 20, 1988, in the mountain village of Sildi in the Tsumadinsky District of Dagestan.
His father, Abdulmanap Magomedovich Nurmagomedov, a decorated coach for combat sambo holding the title of the Honoured Coach of Russia, instilled a love for sports in Khabib from his early age and brought him to various sports clubs.
Three years of training in freestyle wrestling under his father gave him a good base that played a big role in terms of how his professional athlete career developed. Up to this day, these skills remain crucial to his wins in Octagon at the tournaments of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Many people saw a video clip where Khabib Nurmagomedov and his brother take turns in wrestling with a bear cub in the mountains. This video footage where kids are so eager and deft to play with a dangerous, though small, carnivore – shock and amaze many foreign fighters .
In 2001, Abdulmapan Nurmagomedov decided to leave the rural area and moved his family, including his teenage son Khabib, to Makhachkala, the Dagestani capital, where the future champion continued his training.
Khabib exercised with his brothers, relatives and friends – about 15 people in total. Day by day, they would work on their fighting skills in order to become stronger and tougher, helping each other to develop further.
According to Khabib, when he was training in wrestling as a child, he once stumbled upon a video recording of mixed martial arts, and it inspired him to try to go in for this sport.
After careful consideration, his father decided to apprentice him to judo first, to a honoured coach Jafar Jafarov – who taught Khabib judo throws.
Up to now, Jafarov’s judo school is considered one of the best in Russia. Two years of training under Jafarov made Khabib a more versatile athlete.
After years of coaching, Abdulmapan Nurmagomedov, the former Ukrainian Freestyle Wrestling and Sambo Champion, decided to fully engage in combat sambo, as he saw a lot room for growth in this sport with its combination of grappling and striking, which makes it perfect for all-round development of an athlete.
«If Sambo was easy, it would be called jiu jitsu»
In 2005, Khabib began to go in for sambo under his father. He succeeded greatly in this sport, became the Champion of Russia and a two-time Combat Sambo World Champion.
In 2008, after a significant amateur career in various kinds of sports, he turned to professional mixed martial arts that were getting more and more popular abroad.
On September 13, 2008, just a week before his birthday, he made his professional MMA debut in Poltava, Ukraine, at the CSFU: Champions League tournament where he fought against Azerbaijani Vusal Bayramov. With a submission hold from behind on the third minute of the fight, Khabib made his opponent surrender and scored his first win in the professional career. This started his winning streak that keeps rolling up to now.
Khabib Nurmagomedov stands out against the other fighters because of his endurance, great base of freestyle wrestling, excellent grappling skills (his win in NAGA World Championship proves it best), cool calculating head, good sense of distance and strict compliance with the fight plan of his trainer.
«They have no idea how strong my faith for Allah is. They win the belts. I win the hearts!»
As of June 2017, Khabib has a unique record of 24 wins without any defeats in his career. During the fight against Abel Trujillo, a good promising athlete at the time, he took the opponent down to the ground 21 times in three rounds breaking the record for the biggest number of takedowns in a UFC fight.
Khabib became the first Russian fighter in the UFC league, with its ratings and title fights, which gave the best promotion to all the Russian athletes.
In his UFC debut on January 20, 2012, he repeated his success in the professional sports by defeating an Iranian athlete Kamal Shalorus via submission hold on the third minute of the third round at UFC on FX: Guillard vs. Miller – exactly as in the fight against Vuslav Bayramov.
Professional analysts immediately noticed brilliant fighting skills of the Russian athlete.
The extraordinary sequence of six wins in a dominant manner – Kamal Shalorus was followed by Gleison Tibau, Abel Trujillo, Pat Healy and Rafael Dos Anjos – was tarnished by a series of traumas. In summer 2014, he suffered a knee injury, i.e. a rupture of the cruciate ligament, which sidelined him for a year, just as he was preparing to fight against the versatile and unpredictable Tony Ferguson. Then, in 2015, an injured rib forced the fast developing Russian athlete out of the game for an indefinite period of time.
«Ireland only has like 6 million people. In Russia, there are 150 million people. I want to fight with your chicken because that's the number one easy fight in the lightweight division!»
Originally scheduled to fight against that very Tony Ferguson on April 16, 2016, Khabib was looking for a tough and fierce comeback fight, but Ferguson pulled out last minute due to an injury and was replaced by a UFC newcomer Darrell Horcher from the US. Horcher could not put up an appropriate resistance against ‘the eagle’. His passive defence in the end of the second round made him unable to continue, and the combat was stopped by a referee.
On November 12, 2016, at UFC 205 in New York, Khabib defeated an excellent American puncher Michael Johnson who had won against Tony Ferguson a few years before. Michael Johnson had no chance against Khabib's savage beating and tireless pressure. In the middle of the third round, Nurmagomedov had pinned Johnson up against the cage of Octagon, eventually forcing him to tap out by submission (kimura). After the bout, Khabib and Michael Johnson thanked each other for the good performance, and Johnson wished him to win the belt that he deserved. The goal was just one step away.
Khabib seemed to be back on track and ready to steamroller, but unfortunately something went sour.
The bout for the interim Lightweight Championship was scheduled on March 4, 2017, against the well-known Tony Ferguson. However, just a few hours before the fight, Khabib Nurmagomedov fell ill because of theoverstrain and was taken to hospital. As a result, for the third time, the combat between the two best fighters in the lightweight division was called off.
In 2016, Khabib became the president of the fight team «EAGLES MMA» that had been founded and financed by a distinguished Dagestani businessman and the owner of Summa group Ziyavudin Magomedov. As of June 2017, «EAGLES MMA» has signed contracts with dozens of best Russian fighters who will make the club grow and develop and who will represent it at the top international tournaments.