Did UFC legend Khabib Nurmagomedov really wrestle bears when he was young?

Khabib Nurmagomedov
Khabib Nurmagomedov

Former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov really did wrestle bears when he was young. It is little wonder that no one in the division could ever outwrestle the Dagestani fighter inside the Octagon.

Khabib Nurmagomedov recently shed light on how he ended up wrestling wild grizzly bears when he spoke to ESPN's Megan Olivi after the conclusion of UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs Holland.

The conversation took place after 'The Eagle' was officially declared as retired by the UFC. Speaking about how he ended up wrestling a bear for the first time, Khabib Nurmagomedov said:

"Father put me [into] wrestling with [a] bear when I told him, 'Hey, this bear tried to bite me.' And I remember when he told me like, 'Bite him back! No problem. You have to wrestle. you have to keep going.'"

Clearly, little Khabib had been trained to never back down in front of adversity, even if it was a wild bear roaming the mountains of Dagestan. This mindset paid dividends later in life, helping Khabib to become one of the greatest mixed martial artists the world has ever seen.


As the video above shows, Khabib Nurmagomedov did not take his father's advice lightly. The young child in the video can be seen shooting for double-leg takedowns and executing all kinds of moves to get the better of the bear, with utmost seriousness as if they were in a wrestling match.

It's fascinating that, even as a child, Khabib Nurmagomedov was able to put up quite a performance against a much-heavier opponent in the bear.

Khabib Nurmagomedov describes his MMA journey, thanks UFC President Dana White

In the course of the interview, Khabib Nurmagomedov narrated his journey into the world of mixed martial arts. Unsurprisingly, he credited his success in MMA to his father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov.

Nurmagomedov started training after gaining interest in wrestling while watching his father coach other children. Khabib himself walked onto the mat and began training not long after this.

"Since we were kids, how we grew up together, how father took care of everything. He helped me become world champion in combat sambo, two-time world champion in combat sambo. I have a 16-0 [record] outside the UFC. Then UFC signed me. There, I have a 13-fight win streak, became world champion. I am very happy about my journey," said Nurmagomdeov.

Khabib Nurmagomedov also thanked Dana White for making the UFC the organization it is today and providing fighters around the world with the ultimate platform to showcase their skills.

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Edited by Ritwik Kumar
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