MMA manager Ali Abdelaziz lived out a personal dream this week when his star client Khabib Nurmagomedov met Sheik Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan in the United Arab Emirates.
Nurmagomedov returned to the cage in the main event of Saturday’s UFC 254 card in Abu Dhabi, where he defended the UFC lightweight title with a second-round submission defeat of Justin Gaethje—a man many considered his toughest test to date.
After the fight, Nurmagomedov had the opportunity to meet Sheik Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is the son of the founder of the United Arab Emirates, and the current National Security Advisor in the country. Sheik Tahnoun is also responsible for helping popularize mixed martial arts and more specifically, submission grappling, in the region.
Abdelaziz opened up about the meeting between Nurmagomedov and Sheikh Tahnoun, and what it means to him, on Twitter on Monday. See his Tweet, with a translation from the original Arabic, below:
أخيراً حصل اللقاء.. كان حلمي ان ارى حبيب يلتقي بسمو الشيخ طحنون بن زايد آل نهيان، الاب الروحي للفنون القتالية المختلطة والقتال الارضي في الوطن العربي وأحد المساهمين في تطور هذه الرياضات ليس فقط في بلده بل في العالم.. واريد ان أشكر UFC و Dana White على مساعيهم وعلى ارتباطهم ❤️ pic.twitter.com/MioouTMp8T
— Ali Abdelaziz (@AliAbdelaziz00) October 26, 2020
“Finally, the meeting happened,” Abdelaziz wrote. “My dream was to see Khabib meet His Highness Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the spiritual father of mixed martial arts and ground combat in the Arab world and one of the contributors to the development of these sports not only in his country but in the world. I want to thank UFC and Dana White for their endeavors and their engagement.”
After defeating Gaethje in the UFC 254 main event, Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his retirement from mixed martial arts. He hangs up the gloves with a 29-0 overall record, and a reputation as one of the greatest fighters of all time.