What is Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Fighting Style? Career Highlights & Stats

It’s rare for a fighter to retire undefeated in any combat sport. A perfect career almost does not exist, but there is one exception—a man who, with his dominance, has achieved what no one has done so far. However, while at his peak, he chose to retire because that was the only way to leave behind a perfect legacy.

Early Days

Khabib Abdulmanapovich Nurmagomedov was born in 1988 in Silda, Dagestan, Soviet Union. He grew up in a middle-class family and had an active childhood because he was a hyperactive kid who didn’t want to stop moving. Even when he grew up, he got into street fights, which Dagestan is famous for, further igniting his passion for fighting and the desire to become a professional fighter.

From an early age, Khabib became interested in martial arts, which his late father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov supported and took him under his tutelage, teaching him about fighting and life.

Amateur Career

The Eagle first enriched his amateur skills with wrestling, then at 15, he transitioned to Judo, and after two years, he switched to combat sambo. All this was his father’s plan, which bore fruit. It is common knowledge that the careers of Dagestanis are numerous with amateur matches, and his highest amateur success was at the WCSF World Sambo Championship in 2009 and 2010, representing Russia. Khabib won two gold medals in Kyiv and Moscow, and with the double world championship conquered, he fully dedicated himself to a professional career.

Professional Career

Young Nurmagomedov started his professional career in 2008. He competed until 2020 and, in 12 years, achieved a perfect record of 29 victories without defeat, counting eight knockouts, 11 submissions, and ten decisions. He performed in various organizations and events in Russia and Ukraine, such as CSFU, Pankration Atrium Cup, Tsumada FC, M-1 Challenge, Golden Fist Russia, and ProFC.

In 2012, he came to the UFC, where he competed in the lightweight division, representing the AKA team. Coached by his father, Abdulmanap, and trainer Javier Mendez, he earned the belt after ten matches in the UFC. He thus began his dominant reign over the high lightweight competition.

Some of the biggest names he has been in the cage with are Rafael Dos Anjos, Michael Johnson, Edson Barboza, Al Iaquinta, Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, and Justin Gaethje. In 2020, after his last defense of the lightweight belt, he retired by submission victory over Justin Geathje in Abu Dhabi.

Fighting Style

Absolute Dominance: Khabib’s fighting style is synonymous with absolute dominance, a result of years spent mastering disciplines like Wrestling, Sambo, and Judo.

Relentless Pressure: Khabib’s goal is to apply unyielding pressure for three to five rounds, regardless of his opponent, showcasing relentless determination.

Strategic Striking Pressure: Initiating with striking, Khabib strategically corners and sticks to his opponent, dragging them into deep waters where he either secures a finish or wears them down for a decision.

Consistent Game Plan: Throughout his career, Khabib’s fighting style and game plan have remained consistent, yet opponents find it challenging to counteract or neutralize.

Striking Evolution: Despite opponents knowing his game plan, Khabib continually evolves his striking, making it even more dangerous and efficient, especially when opponents focus on defending against his takedowns.

Ground Control Mastery: Possessing a white belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Khabib’s ground control is unparalleled. Utilizing Dagestani handcuffs and strategic leg wraps, he neutralizes opponents and unleashes a brutal ground-and-pound, psychologically breaking his adversaries.

Simple yet Effective Style: Khabib’s fighting style is deceptively simple, relying on his relentless gas tank to impose his game plan throughout the entire match.

Psychological Warfare: The combination of control on the ground and relentless pressure creates a psychological warfare, making Khabib’s opponents succumb to the inevitable outcome of his dominant fighting style.

Achievements in Martial Arts

Khabib is ranked as an International Master of Sport in Pankration, Army hand-to-hand combat, Sambo, and Judo, where he holds a black belt. Nurmagomedov is a former lightweight UFC champion with three title defenses:

  • Russian and world champion in Sambo
  • European champion in Army hand-to-hand combat
  • Winner of the European Pankration Championship

The Eagle won the ADCC No-Gi Welterweight Championship and the Naga World Championship with his white belt in the Expert division. He was awarded various Bonuses for his performances and was repeatedly declared Fighter of the Year. Khabib’s most important crown is his undefeated record, which he achieved as an undefeated coach after the end of his career, and he proudly holds the recognition of being the best sportsman in Russia.

The Most Incredible Win

His most impressive victory happened in the packed Las Vegas arena, where he defended his title for the first time, and his opponent was the famous Conor McGregor. In one of the biggest UFC fights, the fire burned from the day the fight was scheduled until the end. The weigh-ins and press conferences were noisy.

McGregor took every opportunity to verbally call out Khabib verbally, not realizing that he had finally found someone mentally superior. After three rounds, where Khabib successfully implemented his game plan, finally, in the fourth, he got to the Irishman’s neck. He ended him with a neck crank submission.

Daily Gear

While diligently training for fights, Khabib had his way with training equipment. Khabib used high-quality and elastic Fairtex hand wraps to keep his wrists safe. Nurmagomedov used his old Reebok headgear and also Fairtex headgear until the very end, showing the material’s durability. Khabib, humble as he is, did not want to buy a new one. He spent his striking training sweating in Venum’s durable shin guards and ground and pounding his partners in Cleto Reyes and Winning’s boxing gloves. The Eagle is often seen in the Combat Sports Max Strike Hybrid Gloves for maximum safety and comfort when sparring.

Cleto Reyes E400 Family Professional Training Boxing Gloves
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Winning Professional Boxing Gloves
  • Manufactered by Winning in Japan with the craft
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  • Anti Thumbing Style
Combat Sports Max Strike MMA Training Gloves
  • MMA Gloves: Optimize your athletic potential with the Combat Sports Max Strike MMA Training Gloves!...
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Fairtex HW2 Elastic Cotton Handwraps
  • Support your wrists and knuckles with the Fairtex Handwraps
  • Made with high-quality cotton and elastic for comfort and flexibility
  • Velcro closure allows for a secure fit
  • Suitable for a variety of combat sports, including boxing, Muay Thai, and kickboxing
  • Available in multiple colors to match your style
Venum Venum Elite Standup Shin Guards
  • Premium Skintex leather construction
  • High Density foam with additional padding for enhanced shock Absorption
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  • Model number:VENUM-1394-126-M
Ringside Fairtex Super MMA Muay Thai Sparring Headgear
  • Durable leather construction
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  • The next evolution of Fairtex's most popular head guard
  • Handmade in Thailand

Net Worth

As Islam Makachev told Daniel Cormier, “I have a rich guy with me,” and he is 100% right because Khabib is one of the richest MMA athletes in the world. Nurmagomedov’s net worth is as much as $40 million. During his career, The Eagle earned only a little less than $22 million from fights, winning money for victories and bonuses. In addition to the earnings in his career, Khabib proudly sponsors Toyota, Alhadaya, Reebok, and Gorilla Energy. It is important to note that he does not hesitate to invest his money in charity and prefers to do so secretly.

Last update on 2024-06-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Gregori Povolotski

I have been practicing martial arts since 2007. For as long as I can remember, I have always had a huge passion for combat sports, especially Muay Thai and boxing. Helping people on their martial arts journey is what drives me to keep training and learn new things. Read More About Me

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