Like Khabib, Islam Makhachev also used to represent Ukraine in the MMA cage

Khabib Nurmagomedov is one of the most prominent Russian athletes in the world. Nurmagomedov, 33, might be retired now but prior to retirement he accumulated the pristine record containing 29 wins and no losses. Nurmagomedov’s trademark in the UFC octagon became a papakha.

Papakha, is a high fur hat, usually made of karakul sheep skin. It’s typical for the Caucasian region. Papakhas are donned by the Circassians, Chechens, Dagestanians, and other Caucasian tribes. This was Nurmagomedov’s subtle nod to his Dagestani origins. He notably never carried the flag into a UFC cage. Prior to his UFC tenure, Khabib made a bid to become a Ukrainian.

Khabib’s family has a long relationship with Ukraine.

His father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov started his sports career with freestyle wrestling in Ukraine. He eventually won the championship of Ukraine in judo and sambo.

Adbulmanap also trained his brother Nurmagomedov Nurmagomedov to win a sambo/judo championship for the Ukrainian national team.

Khabib’s father and his two uncles (the three Nurmagomedov brothers) all finished their higher education in Poltava, Ukraine.

One of Khabib’s uncles and also Ukrainian citizen Alex Nurmagomedov, has shared this story in the past in an interview with Sport-express.

According to him, Khabib has applied for Ukrainian citizenship several times in the past. But all the applications were denied.

Islam Makhachev too used to make his entrance by carrying the Ukrainian flag.

When the fans unearthed a video of Islam Makhachev carrying the Ukrainian flag on his shoulders, fans were in a state of disbelief. The fans had to say the following.

A fan remarked: “Ukraine was a sponsor of Abdulmanap team. Thats the reason”

“I think Khabib too, for a while they trained there,” said another fan.

Another fan spoke: “I think Khabib too, for a while they trained there”

While another fan said, “He suits the clean shave. Curious about the backstory here but.”

Another fan said: “Khabib father is ex-ukranian soldier and many their relatives is ukranian”

A fan remarked: “Abdulmanap had lots of history in Ukraine, they trained in Ukraine for years (got their Judo black belts there) and much more. People assume too much and are plain weirdos.”

Islam Makhachev paid a moving tribute to his late instructor Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov after defeating Charles Oliveira to win the UFC lightweight championship. In addition to dedicating the victory to Abdulmanap, he expressed his gratitude for everything that he had taught him.

Makhachev stated, “I became a champion today. I wish I could put this belt on my coach’s shoulder in the octagon. His presence would have made this victory even more meaningful. May Allah grant him the highest rank in paradise, coach.”