Khabib Nurmagomedov has announced on Instagram he has been voted the most popular sportsperson in Russia.
"The Eagle" won the vote with 10% of the total votes cast, with only Russian soccer captain Artem Dzyuba coming close to pipping Nurmagomedov with 8% of the vote. Nurmagomedov has seen his popularity increase massively over the last few years with many people believing he has overtaken Conor McGregor as the UFC's biggest star. To win such an accolade given MMA's infancy in Russia and considering UFC has only held a Fight Night once in Russia in its history.
"Today VTsIOM (All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center) has published the data of the national rating of the best sportsman in Russia," Nurmagomedov posted on Instagram. "It is one thing when you are recognized by experts, trainers, fighters and specialists, and another thing is the recognition of the People. Thank you for being there. It would be almost impossible without you."
Nurmagomedov is still the reigning lightweight champion despite his retirement following his win over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. Dana White has remained optimistic on Nurmagomedov fighting at least one more fight to take his record to a potential 30-0. The Dagestani native has grown into a world-renowned superstar and is crucial to the UFC, and awards like this only showcase his status in the world.