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Khabib Nurmagomedov becomes first MMA fighter to win BBC World Sport Star award

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It’s the first time in history an MMA fighter has ever been nominated for, or won the award.

UFC 249 Khabib v Ferguson: Press Conference Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Khabib Nurmagomedov has fended off the likes of golfer Dustin Johnson and basketball star LeBron James to win the BBC’s World Sport Star of the year award.

The votes for the award were gathered through on an online public vote and the results were announced on Thursday.

Nurmagomedov (29-0) received the award after retiring from professional competition following his win over Justin Gaethje in October. The Russian’s future was in question after the tragic passing of his father and coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov in July, but “The Eagle” returned for one more victory against Gaethje.

Former boxing legends Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, and Muhammad Ali are the only combat athletes to ever win the award. So it’s a massive feat for Nurmagomedov who becomes the first ever mixed martial artist to claim the prize in the competition’s 60-year history.

During his eight year UFC stint, Nurmagomedov rarely looked troubled in a lot of his fights, usually dominating his opponents with flawless grappling abilities.

UFC president Dana White said he will soon meet with the former lightweight champion and believes he will return to the sport despite his retirement.