Khabib Nurmagomedov has built an entire MMA career from the ground up on the foundation of always being the best wrestler when the cage door closes. Over 29 professional MMA fights, he’s used his elite grappling to take down his opponents and keep them there for as long as he wants while landing punishing ground and pound. It’s this dominance coupled with a serviceable striking game that developed really well in the latter years of his career that led to him becoming UFC Lightweight World Champion and announcing his retirement at the peak of his undefeated career.
Nurmagomedov’s training partner and ex-UFC Light-Heavyweight and Heavyweight World Champion Daniel Cormier has spoken about the ungodly strength that you feel the very moment that he manages to get a hold of you:
“Look at Dustin Poirier, how good he looked against Dan Hooker, and look at what Khabib did to him. Dustin went between rounds and said, ‘I can’t get him off me.’ This is Dustin Poirier who is one of the bigger lightweights in the entire world. He’s just a beast man. You felt it, I felt it — when I grab a guy that fights at 155 and I go, ‘man, he feels strong,’ it’s crazy. That should not happen. He should not feel strong to me whenever I grab him, but he is.”
And now the phenomenal power that Khabib Nurmagomedov has makes perfect sense, as footage emerges of him grappling with a 230lb Heavyweight wrestler in training. If a Lightweight can compete on even footing with a Heavyweight then fellow Lightweights will be relatively easy work. Of course, is this much of a surprise when we’re talking about the same man who was seen wrestling infant bears as a child?
It’s no wonder then that Dana White is doing everything in his power to get Nurmagomedov to walk back his retirement and return to defend his title, with Charles Oliveira being the name that’s thrown around the most lately. Despite White’s best efforts, it seems as though Nurmagomedov will be focusing more on coach and developing the next generation of MMA stars, like his younger cousin Umar who recently won his UFC debut in convincing fashion.