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Video: Watch Khabib wreck opponent at the World Combat Sambo Championships

Former UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is a two-time world sambo champion.

Khabib Nurmagomedov when he cornered Islam Makhachev at the UFC APEX in 2021.
Khabib Nurmagomedov when he cornered Islam Makhachev at the UFC APEX in 2021.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Khabib Nurmagomedov retired from MMA back in the fall of 2020, giving an emotional farewell speech shortly after choking out Justin Gaethje to retain the UFC lightweight title. That win pushed him to a perfect 29-0 record on his career, sealed top spot in the UFC’s men’s pound-for-pound rankings and ensured that ‘The Eagle’ would be remembered as one of the best fighters to ever appear in the Octagon.

Though we were subjected to months of the UFC, and specifically Dana White, telling us Nurmagomedov may return to action, the Dagestani stuck to his guns and assured that he was more interested in other aspects of the fight game.

Since his retirement we have seen Nurmagomedov corner his friends and family, both in the UFC and Bellator, and further develop his fledgling promotion Eagle FC. With it seeming highly unlikely that we ever see Nurmagomedov fight again, we are left to enjoy only his past performances.

Recently Fight Library’s Blaine Henry reminded us that impressive highlights from Nurmagomedov’s career don’t start at when he entered the UFC. On Twitter Henry shared a clip of Nurmagomedov at the 2010 World Combat Sambo Championships.

The video shows a 22-year-old Nurmagomedov, in blue, get taken down and survive on the bottom before reversing the position. Once on top Nurmagomedov scored side control and took a breather before trying to get full mount. Nurmagomedov bailed on those attempts and instead locked up a mounted crucifix. Vicious ground and pound followed, leaving the opponent out cold on the mat.

Nurmagomedov won the gold for the -82 kg category that year. His 2010 win followed up his gold medal performance, in the -74 kg category, from the previous year. In 2009 Nurmagomedov also won gold at the Russian Combat Sambo Championships.

By the time Nurmagomedov won his first Sambo gold he was already a 4-0 MMA fighter. He would make his UFC debut in 2012, having amassed a 16-0 record on the Russian regional scene.

He would go 13-0 in the UFC. And would rarely look in danger of defeat.

Nurmagomedov’s current focus is EFC 44: Kharitonov vs. Spong, which goes down on January 28 and marks the first time his promotion has appeared in the United States. In addition to Tyrone Spong vs. Sergei Kharitonov the card also features Ray Borg vs. Cody Gibson, Renan Barao vs. Horacio Gutierrez, John Howard vs. Ramazan Kuramagomedov and Rashad Evans vs. Gabriel Checco.