Since making his preliminary UFC debut in 2012, Khabib Nurmagomedov has mercilessly stormed through the 155lb rankings, making light work of every contender stood in his path - including current lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos. 'The Eagle's' decorated Sambo accomplishments have paved the way for his mixed martial arts success on the UFC's main stage, as the Russian has used his relentless grappling abilities to overwhelm his Octagon foes.
The Dagestani's unrelenting waves of grappling attacks were most notable in his three round thrashing of Abel Trujillo at UFC 160, which saw the 26-year-old net a record breaking 21 takedowns in a single fight. Nurmagomedov stuck to Trujillo like a cheap cologne he couldn't wash off, earning Khabib another commanding decision victory.
The bulk of Khabib's training takes place on home soil in Dagestan but the aspiring lightweight champ makes final preparations in San Jose with the head coaches at AKA. 'The Eagle' is able to hone and sharpen his craft alongside some of the UFC's most notable talents; including the likes of Cain Velasquez, Daniel Cormier and Luke Rockhold.
"Khabib is as good as he thinks he is. Have you heard the guy talk sh-t? He's pretty vocal these days about where he stands and what he believes is his. Khabib is what he thinks is he is. That's my quote. He's got a great tenacity no doubt. His control in the clinch, top position, submission defense - he's very talented when it comes to the grappling and wrestling aspect of it," Rockhold said.
Nurmagomedov will be guided under the tutelage of Javier Mendez at AKA for the final weeks leading up to his clash with Donald Cerrone at UFC 187. The highly anticipated bout on May 23 will establish the number one contender for Rafael dos Anjos' lightweight crown.