Shara Magomedov stepped into the UFC limelight in the opening bout of UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi. What sets him apart is not just his unbeaten streak but also his distinctive appearance.
Sporting a fiery red beard and hair, his look is quite eye-catching. Yet, there’s a unique aspect to Magomedov– he possesses only one fully functional eye.
He is blind in his right eye. However, his visual impairment doesn’t deter him. He’s secured an impressive twelve consecutive wins in his professional career.
Magomedov’s debut win against Bruno Silva may not have ignited the hype as anticipated. Nevertheless, one look at Magomedov is all it takes for his presence to leave an indelible mark.
The Russian middleweight used the occasion after his victory to express his gratitude to one of the few athletes who had experienced comparable struggles and emerged victorious.
Overcoming impaired vision in one eye is no small feat in the fiercely competitive world of MMA. Yet, Michael Bisping demonstrated that it’s possible.
For skeptics who doubt Magomedov’s potential, one needs only point to Bisping’s extraordinary career finale. The UFC Hall of Famer managed to deceive medical examinations for years, all while delivering career-best performances.
With only one eye, he delivered a knockout blow to Luke Rockhold on short notice at UFC 199. He then ended up seizing the middleweight championship.
After tasting victory in the Octagon for the first time, Magomedov expressed his gratitude to Bisping for being a beacon of inspiration throughout his career.
In a heartfelt video for TNT Sports in the UK, he acknowledged: “Michael Bisping… You [give me] motivation. Very, very motivation. You champion. You champion”
Touched by Magomedov’s words, Bisping shared the video on his Instagram story. He extends warm wishes to the budding competitor by wishing him “Congrats brother!”
Previously UFC’s middleweight champion Sean Strickland questioned if Magomedov can even get sanctioned to compete outside of the UAE. UFC famously plays their own athletic comission on the Abu Dhabi grounds. This wouldn’t be the case in the US – which is why Bisping hid his own eye problems for over a year.