Following yet another dominant victory at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi, it seems to be official that Khabib Nurmagomedov is one of Russia’s biggest stars.

Reigning UFC lightweight champion, Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov is just two wins away from holding a perfect 30-0 record.

This past Saturday in Abu Dhabi, Nurmagomedov picked up his 28th career victory. Standing in his way this time around was the interim champion, Dustin Poirier. After putting up as much of a fight as he could in the first two rounds, “The Diamond” would succumb to the Sambo master’s pressure in round three when Nurmagomedov sunk in a rear-naked choke.

Nurmagomedov would acquire the gold strap in April 2018 with a win over Al Iaquinta. What would follow for the Dagestani would be the biggest fight in UFC history numbers-wise when he dispatched of his rival, Conor McGregor at UFC 229.

Gradually over time, it shouldn’t be surprising to see an athlete of Nurmagomedov’s caliber rise in popularity with every win. But his superstardom has now been solidified as RT reports per the national press that UFC 242 was viewed by up to 26 million people in his native Russia. The event was aired for free on Russia’s Channel 1 (Perviy Canal).

Khabib-Nurmagomedov
📸: talkSPORT

For comparisons’ sake, UFC 229 accrued 2.4 million pay-per-view buys. UFC on Fox 1 was the most viewed free to view UFC event with 5.4 million viewers. The Floyd Mayweather vs. McGregor boxing spectacle had a buyrate of 4.3 million thus making it the second-highest ever behind Mayweather’s bout with Manny Pacquiao at 4.6.

However, Mayweather vs. McGregor was reportedly illegally streamed by roughly 100 million.

The UFC 242 report also states that the audience tuning in was about 24 percent of adults. Among other stats, Nurmagomedov surpassed Olga Buzova, a singer and TV personality, as Russia’s most popular celebrity on Instagram. He now has 16.4 million followers on that platform.

If you missed out on the madness that was Dagestan after the fight, you can check out the footage below.


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Dagestan right now @khabib_nurmagomedov

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As for what or who may be next for the 30-year old “Eagle,” it still looks like it might just be two more fights to try and round out a perfect 30-0 career… but he would love to go out with one hell of a showing at home.

“For Khabib, 30-0 is enough,” Khabib’s father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, told Tass. “As for the last fight, then, of course, we would like to hold the last defense [of the title] in Moscow.”

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The Scrap’s Drake Riggs is a MMA writer and YouTuber based out of Brush Prairie, Washington who specializes in feature pieces, the women’s fight scene, lists, news coverage, and rankings. Riggs has been a passionate MMA fan since 2009 and has written for various news sources. You can follow him on Twitter (@Dre_Kriggs).