UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is a massive, international star. Nowhere his superstardom more massive, however, than in his native Dagestan, Russia.
When he fights — more aptly, when he wins — the entire region seems to erupt in celebration.
See a video of the effect a Khabib Nurmagomedov victory has on Dagestan below, via UFC President Dana White on Instagram.
“Dagestan right now,” White wrote in the caption for his post.
On Saturday, at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi, Nurmagomedov successfully defended the UFC lightweight title with a third-round submission defeat of former interim champion Dustin Poirier. Poirier entered the fight on an impressive win-streak and with plenty of tools at his disposal, but simply couldn’t contender with the Dagestani’s stars vaunted grappling.
UFC 242 also featured appearances from Dagestan natives Islam Makhachev, Shamil Abdurakhimov, Zubaira Tukhugov, Muslim Salikhov and Omari Akhmedov. Makhachev defeated Davi Ramos by decision, Abdurakhimov was defeated by Curtis Blaydes via TKO, Tukhugov battled Lerone Murphy to a split draw, Salikhov defeated Nordine Taleb by knockout, and Akhmedov defeated Zak Cummings by decision.
With his victory over Poirier, Khabib Nurmagomedov is now 28-0 overall — easily the most impressive undefeated record in MMA today. He can now look forward to a fight with long-time contender Tony Ferguson, although he has already expressed interest in a fight with Georges St-Pierre.
UFC President Dana White favors the Ferguson matchup, but also said a rematch between Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor is a possibility if Ferguson is not available.
“Tony Ferguson gets the next shot and obviously if for whatever reason Tony can’t take the fight or doesn’t want the fight at that time then we would figure out what was next but Conor would make a lot of sense,” White said at the UFC 242 post-fight press conference. “Conor McGregor wants that fight really badly and I’m sure the fans would want to see it. So we’ll see how this whole thing plays out.”
Whatever the case, it’s likely Dagestan will have another reason to celebrate.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/8/2019.