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Was Khabib Nurmagomedov the first ever Russian champion in the UFC?

UFC 205: Nurmagomedov v Johnson
UFC 205: Nurmagomedov v Johnson
Sayan Nag
Modified 07 Apr 2021

While Khabib Nurmagomedov is technically the first Russian to win a UFC championship, former UFC heavyweight Oleg Taktarov has a different take on the issue.

Oleg Taktarov won the sixth UFC tournament back in 1995 after fighting thrice in one night. Though the eight-man tournament might not equal a UFC title, Taktarov continues to regard himself as the first UFC champion from Russia.

Khabib Nurmagomedov, on the other hand, has been widely recognized as the first Russian UFC champion after winning the UFC lightweight title against Al Iaquinta at UFC 223.

Expressing his disapproval with the issue, Oleg Taktarov said on an Instagram Live chat:

"Where did you find that Khabib was the first Russian champion? I can tell you a story. First champion Royce Gracie. Then he won again. The third championship was won by Steve Jennum, because everyone was injured. The fourth championship Royce Gracie who strangled Dan Severn. Then Dan Severn won the fifth championship. There were three champions. The sixth championship I won. Where do you see someone else?"

On Khabib Nurmagomedov being deemed the 'real' champion, Taktarov said:

“Recently, I read some ‘expert’ who said that ‘Oleg Taktarov wasn’t a real UFC Champion. What does the UFC mean? The Ultimate Fighting Championship; the winner of Championship is the champion. Later they started to hold ‘super-fights’ and there would be super-fight champions. The real championships ended in 90s. One fight is just one fight now.”

Oleg Taktarov had a feud with Khabib Nurmagomedov's Father


Oleg Taktarov has clashed with Abulmanap Nurmagomedov in the past. He had been in training with the Dagestani legend during a period in his career. Referring to Khabib Nurmagomedov and his father, Taktarov further said:

"If one Wahhabi from the Tsumadinsky district called himself the first champion, then why do all the fools believe it? [Khabib] himself doesn't repeat such a thing, but you repeat it like monkeys. He is like a great magician, getting rid of the achievement. He says that technically I'm not the first and I should be forgotten, wiped from history. How can you ever say this?"
Published 07 Apr 2021, 21:07 IST
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