Khabib Nurmagomedov: The Unrivalled Career of a Legend

Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov has been one of, if not the most dominant fighter in UFC history. Holding a professional record of 29-0, Khabib has shown nothing short of absolute dominance in his profession and is considered the best grappler of all time.

Khabib has been fighting professionally since the age of 19, his first career fight was all the way back in 2008 where he won with a Rear Naked Choke in the 2nd round. His next 3 fights were all in the same day in a tournament he ended up winning. One of the wins was against the notable name of Magomed Magomedov who has actually beaten Petr Yan and is currently competing in Bellator.

From 2009-2011 Khabib would win fight after fight, winning a total of 16 fights and just absolutely dominating different Russian and Ukrainian Promotions. After his Round 1 KO win in October of 2011, Khabib would get the call for his first UFC contract in November of 2011. On Janurary 20th of 2012, Khabib got his very first fight were he went up against Kamal Shalorus. As you would expect, just like literally every other one of Khabib’s fights it was a dominating performance ending in a Rear Naked Choke victory in Round 3. 6 months later Khabib got to go up against Gleison Tibau where he got a unanimous decision victory.

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Exactly a year after his UFC debut, Khabib would get his first main card appearance where he went up against UFC veteran Thiago Tavares where he won less then 2 minutes in with a quick KO. His next fight was in May of 2013 where he got a dominating Unanimous decision win. 4 months later in September he got his first ranked opponent and PPV appearance where he went up against 10th ranked Pat Healy of course getting a unanimous decision victory going up to #7 ranked in the Lightweight division.

His next fight was by far the hardest and most important one of his career to that point where he went up against #5 ranked beast Rafael Dos Anjos. It went exactly how you think ending in a unanimous decision victory. He would proceed to have a 2 year layoff missing fights with notable Lightweights Donald Cerrone and Tony Ferguson due to a torn meniscus and a rib injury. In his comeback fight he got to go up against up and comer Darrell Horcher and get a 2nd round Ground and Pound victory. That fight was actually supposed to be Tony Ferguson (for a 2nd time) but was changed due to an injury from. His next battle in November of 2016 was against 6th ranked Michael Johnson ending in a Round 3 Kimura win bringing his record to an incredible 24-0.

For a 3rd time a Tony vs Khabib fight was attempted this time being scratched due to a bad weight cut from Khabib leading to him hospitalized. After that Khabib wouldn’t end up fighting for 9 months where he got a battle against 4th ranked and very hot Edson Barboza, and of course he got a unanimous decision victory. His next fight would come in April of 2018 with some of the strangest surroundings of a main event possible, the fight was originally supposed to be against Max Holloway but the NYSAC deemed his weight cut unsafe, then it was supposed to be Tony Ferguson (4th time) but the interim champ tore his knee after tripping on media equipment during an interview, then it was almost The Irish Dragon Paul Felder, but once again the NYSAC deemed his weight cut unsafe. So instead he got Al Iaquinta where Khabib dominated (of course). Due to Tony being out he no longer held the belt, and Conor was busy being a boxer, Khabib got the belt undisputed. His first title fight was against The Notorious in the highest selling PPV of all time with 2.4M buys. Khabib ended up winning the massive fight by Rear Naked Choke in the 4th round.

His next title defense was against the interim champ Dustin Poirier where he once again got a Rear Naked Choke win, this time in the 3rd round. For the 5th time the UFC was going to attempt Khabib vs Tony for UFC 249 on April 18th of 2020. We all know how that ended, due to Covid-19 the insanely hyped and anticipated fight was cancelled once again.

Unfortunately on July 3rd, coach and father of Khabib, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov died due to complications of the corona virus. 6 months later Khabib would go into his first fight without his father against interim champ, Justin Gaethje. Just like literally every other one of his title defenses Khabib would get a submission victory this time by Triangle Choke in the 2nd round. In the post-fight interview Khabib would go onto announce his retirement with the insane record of 29-0 to honor his father and coach.

Since his retirement Khabib has also been undefeated as a coach being in the corner of his cousin Umar Nurmagomedov, his other cousin Abubakar Nurmagomedov, and the 11th ranked lightweight beast Islam Makhachev.

When talking about Khabib to me it’s just important to remember the absolute insanity hes shown since 2012 in the UFC. He’s only lost 2 rounds his entire career and even with the early retirement he can easily be considered the MMA GOAT. It’ll be very interesting to see where his coaching career can bring him, especially with a fighter like Islam Makhachev under him.

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