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“The Eagle” is flattered by the comparison, but prefers to
The massive popularity of
Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight ace Khabib
Nurmagomedov (28-0) prompted some to compare him to the iconic
Muhammad Ali. While talking to True Gym MMA, “The Eagle” expressed some
satisfaction in hearing that. Still, he wanted to restrain the
enthusiasm by pointing out all the activism of the late Olympic
“I think comparing Ali and me is probably wrong,” he said. “Only if
we talk about the fact that we are both champions and both muslims.
But all the things he did outside the ring, with this, I cannot be
compared indeed. At the time when he was a champion, he was…another
race, and at that time in America, black people were treated badly,
and according to his stories, he was not even served in
restaurants. He threw away the gold medal. He changed the attitude
towards his race very much. So, we cannot be compared.”
The lightweight champion went on to add that his current social
situation is very different from Ali’s one.
“To be able to compare me with him, I need to go back to those
years and be black and be a champion,” he added. “After that, we
would see how I would have behaved in such a situation. In this
case, we can be compared. I like that people compare us, but I
think it is inappropriate.”
Nurmagomedov had a considerable rise in popularity thanks to his
feud with former UFC two-division champion Conor
McGregor. “The Eagle” faced his Irish opponent at UFC 229,
where he submitted McGregor via neck crank in the fourth stanza.
After that victory, Nurmagomedov and his late father were received
by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who wanted to congratulate him
for his performance.
The last time he stepped into the Octagon, Nurmagomedov submitted
former interim champ Dustin
Poirier in the third stanza at their UFC 242 encounter in Abu
Now, Nurmagomedov is called to headline the UFC 254 event. “The
Eagle” will clash with interim titleholder Justin
Gaethje in a lightweight title unification bout. The upcoming
fight will be the first since his father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov,
passed away due to health complications related to COVID-19.
This article first appeared at Recent News on Sherdog.com
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