UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has received major recognition in the UK by winning the annual ‘BBC World Sports Star Of The Year’ for 2020.
Nurmagomedov is the first ever MMA fighter to win the award in it’s 60-year history, and is only the fourth combat sports athlete to claim the trophy after Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield.
Khabib won the award ahead of a list of sporting stars from the global stage, including basketball ace LeBron James, golfer Dustin Johnson, pole vaulter Armand Duplantis, footballer Wendie Renard and boxer Katie Taylor.
The 32-year-old Nurmagomedov successfully defended his lightweight title for a third time in 2020 with a dominant submission win over Justin Gaethje back in October.
That win extended Khabib’s unbeaten career record to 29-0 and marked his 13th victory in a row during his time in the UFC.
Nurmagomedov’s latest victory was all the more poignant because it came just months after his father and coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov died of complications from Covid-19.
The Degastani superstar also had to endure further adversity due to a battle with the mumps that left him hospitalized, in addition to a broken toe in the weeks leading into his fight with Gaethje.
Khabib retired after the fight, though he is set to have talks with Dana White in January to establish whether there’s any chance that he may be willing to reverse that decision.