There’s no disputing that undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is the most dominant fighter in mixed martial arts (MMA) today. Reigning UFC light heavyweight king Jon Jones is certainly up for consideration, but even he can’t match the round-by-round perfection that Khabib invokes.
With spectacular finishes over Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, and Michael Johnson since 2016, Khabib has broken out of his shell to become one of the most popular names in combat sports today. After all, “Eagle” is hard to overlook with a 28-0 professional MMA record.
As someone who grew up wrestling bears in Dagestan, Russia, Khabib was taught at an early age how to overwhelm an opponent and use his grappling skills to control the action. Nurmagomedov has carried this ability with him into his professional MMA career, starting with his very first bout back in 2008.
Most fight fans haven’t seen footage of Khabib’s early MMA career in Russia, but now they can. The below video shows a young Nurmagomedov dominating his opponent with strong wrestling and brutal head butts from top position. The fact that Khabib can be seen wearing old school UFC MMA gloves is foreshadowing at its finest.
Luckily for fighters like McGregor, Poirier, Edson Barboza, and Al Iaquinta, Khabib is not permitted to use these type of head butts in UFC competition. They are downright deadly, and would turn Khabib’s already iron-clad fighting style into a true weapon of war.
That said, Khabib hasn’t needed these attacks to take out some of the best fighters in the world since joining UFC back in 2012. The undefeated Russian fighter has compiled a perfect 12-0 record — while losing just one single round of competition — en route to winning, and defending, the undisputed UFC lightweight title.