Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields shares insight into the humility of Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Nurmagomedov can boast of sporting success, celebrity status and a fairly sizeable bank balance, however, the former UFC lightweight champion remains understated and humble. The 35-year-old grew a large and devoted following throughout his career and safely earned celebrity status during the end of his career, whether he liked it or not.
However, nothing seemed to go to Nurmagomedov’s head and remained a well-respected and pivotal part of training cores both in California and in Dagestan. Shields, who trained alongside Nurmagomedov at the American Kickboxing Academy, shared that the MMA superstar would stay behind to clean the mats after practice.
“When I would train with Khabib Nurmagomedov in San Jose he would often be the guy mopping the mats (this is usually down to my rookies) This was right before he won the title — but I’m pretty sure I also saw him moping in (Las) Vegas after he was already a champion. This sets a great example to his team that he’s not above them”, Shields wrote on Twitter.
Many who know and have trained with Nurmagomedov have nothing but good things to say about him. Often the hardest worker in the room, Nurmagomedov earned the respect of many, including his former coach and head of AKA, Javier Mendes.
When asked if money had changed Nurmagomedov, Mendes said, it did, but in the best way.
“Yes, he did change. He did change 100%. He became more generous… He became more generous, and a bit more kind to people. He was always kind but he became better with people. With more money, he became better.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov turned down $40 million to make UFC return
While the UFC has tried to tempt Nurmagomedov back on many occasions, he remains steadfast in his retirement.
What is your favourite moment from Khabib Nurmagomedov’s career?