The professional mixed martial artist Khabib Nurmagomedov is one of the biggest names currently active in the MMA circuit. The Russian is known to have never officially lost a fight, having recorded so far 28 wins.
He holds the record of the longest active undefeated streak in MMA, stretching for almost 12 years now – beginning September 13, 2008. The 32-year Russian ties with Fedor Emelianenko when it comes to the longest unbeaten streak, the two being second to the Brazilian Renan Barao, undefeated for 31 fights, from 2005 to 2014.
But there are voices who question Nurmagomedov’s unbeatable strike so far. While there have been legends of him fighting bears in his childhood, the truth is that he is the best fighter in the Octagon right now.
The road to UFC
Being born in a Russian mountain village in Dagestan, just a few miles from the boarder with Georgia, Nurmagomedov expressed his interest in the martial arts when watching the students training at his father’s gym. His father was a veteran of the army and also a decorated athlete, himself a wrestler since childhood.
In 2008, Khabib made a sensational debut in MMA, with four wins in less than a month, three of which in the same day. Before making his debut in UFC, in 2012, he trained in judo, wrestling, and sambo, and he already had a 16-0 record in the regional circuits of Russia and Ukraine when he joined UFC.
He won the first fight on the circuit, in January 2012, in Nashville, in just over two minutes, while his fastest UFC win was in just 1:55 time. He continued to feature in shows in Las Vegas, Sao Paulo, Toronto, Orlando, New York, or Abu Dhabi, and had strong opponents.
The success in UFC
Nurmagomedov defeated big names in the MMA, like Dustin Poirier, who has 26 MMA wins, Al Iaquinta, and Conor McGregor. The fight with the Irishman was the only one when the Russian ever lost a round. While Nurmagomedov dominated the first two rounds, he narrowly lost the third, before eventually winning the most important fight in his career so far in the fourth round via submission.
So, the mixed martial artist not only did not ever lose a fight, but he recorded just one round lost in 28 fights, which is absolute stunning. After that fight, the two now have the biggest rivalry in the sport of MMA, and they may meet again in the Octagon.
Until then, Nurmagomedov will face Justin Gaethje, on October 24th, in a yet undetermined venue. The fight was set last month, and the president of the UFC, Dana White, confirmed that the two will fight at the UFC 254. The odds are in the Russian’s favor, with -250 at NJ betting, while Gaethje has +200 odds. The American has 22 wins out of the 24 fights so far, of which 19 are by knockout.
The UFC 254 will be a unification bout between the current champion Nurmagomedov, and the interim champion Gaethje. The American thinks Khabib actually did lose a fight – his second UFC with Gleison Tibau, when even though the unanimous decision was for the Russian, some media outlets thought different. Fans and experts also thought the same, but the decision stayed.
The fight will be Khabib’s first one since his father and trainer, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, died from complications with Covid-19 last month.
There are still a couple of months before the big Octagon meeting, and the black belt in Judo Nurmagomedov will have plenty of time to prepare for the fight which can take him one step to the overall winning streak record.