As hyped as mixed martial arts (MMA) fans around the world were to see UFC 254’s Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje title fight, we imagine things must have been especially off the hook across the Middle East, Russia and specifically the Republic of Dagestan where Khabib is from.
In the lead-up to UFC 254, Khabib’s coach Javier Mendez shared a photo of a sign attached to a mall entrance in Dagestan warning shoppers the mall would be closed Oct. 24, 2020, for “KHABIB DAY.” And now videos are coming out showing the celebrations that went down after Khabib defeated Gaethje in the second round of their fight (watch highlights).
Farid Muslimov from MMA Tematika shared this video from a service station in Dagestan where a broadcast was being projected for a huge crowd of locals. The fans explode in rapture as their boy Khabib puts “The Highlight” to sleep in the second stanza with a slick mounted triangle choke:
News agency Ruptly has shots from a city where massive crowds gather from nearby apartment buildings to see the fight. Everybody loses their mind when Nurmagomedov wins, and the streets erupt in honking as cars full of papakha-wearing youths celebrate.
This last video from Non-Stop MMA shows some of the street parties in Dagestan that went on into the night — made possible by this event being the first in forever to be broadcast at a reasonable time for Caucasus fans.
Khabib sent a message out to his Russian speaking followers after the win.
“To my fans — if I say my fans in Russia, that would be wrong. Let’s say all my Russian-speaking fans,” he said. “A huge thank you to you all. When I started in 2008, and when I signed with the UFC in 2012, many people didn’t believe. They thought it was impossible.
“I’m a simple guy from a Dagestani mountain village,” he continued. “When I came here, my brother told me, ‘Google says you’re the planet’s most discussed person.’ I couldn’t believe it because I didn’t even think of that. I just wanted to be champion with the guidance of my father. I never thought I’d get such a heavy load dropped on my shoulders.
“Alhamdullillah (praise be to god),” he finished. “If you have parents, be close to them. That’s all. I only have one parent left, my mom. I want to spend more time with her.”
For complete UFC 254: “Khabib vs. Gaethje” results click HERE.