One of the fighters who has garnered the most attention in the fallout of UFC 205 is Khabib Nurmagomedov, who cemented his contender status following a vicious beatdown on Michael Johnson. While Khabib’s victory got the attention of MMA fans who tuned in on Saturday night, his real celebration awaited him at the tiny Makhachkala airport in Dagestan.
Upon Khabib’s return home, he was greeted by state officials from the government, who immediately showered him with gifts. This was followed up by scores of fans awaiting the local star outside the airport. Hundreds of fans stood in the cold holdings signs of support and chanting ‘Khabib champion.’
The show of support for Nurmagomedov is a rarity for Russian fighters and emphasizes the extent of his popularity and stardom in the country. His impact, particularly in Russia’s Muslim regions, is unparalleled. Given the UFC’s interest in venturing into the Russian Federation for a big event, Khabib is the obvious choice to headline that show if he is able to reach an agreement with the promotion.