UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov received a message of congratulations from Russian president Vladimir Putin when they met on Thursday.
Nurmagomedov and his father sat down with Putin and Vladimir Vasilyev, the head of the Republic of Dagestan, after he landed in Russia following his third-round submission victory over Dustin Poirier.
Nurmagomedov is one of the most popular and recognized athletes in Russia, especially in his home in Dagestan where he lives and trains outside of his fight camps in the United States.
“I want to congratulate you. It was a decent fight against a strong and tenacious rival,” Putin told Nurmagomedov (translation via RT Sport).
See the full video below:
Funny enough, Putin actually met with McGregor in 2018 during the World Cup Finals, which were held in Moscow. A few months later, the Russian president celebrated with Nurmagomedov following his fourth-round submission win over the Irish superstar at UFC 229.
Putin, who is a well known supporter of combat sports and has attended fights in Russia in the past, commended Nurmagomedov on his performance while defending his lightweight title for the second time.
“Well it depends on the person,” Putin said when referencing the fight against McGregor. “But of course a professional athlete should be like this. You had a convincing victory.
Nurmagomedov’s celebratory homecoming has become common place for the undefeated champion as his star power in Russia continues to grow with every fight.