Best Fighters Outside The UFC: Usman Nurmagomedov

Usman Nurmagomedov (17-0) is the 24-year-old Lightweight phenom cousin of MMA all-time great Khabib. He just demolished an all-time great to defend his Bellator belt for the first time. He is undoubtedly one of the top 155-pounders outside the octagon, and arguably the best of them all…

Usman was born in the town of Kizilyurt, Dagestan in 1998. He began his martial arts journey with freestyle wrestling. Older brother Umar instead took up Muay Thai boxing and later converted his younger brother to the striking side. When Usman was 16, both he and Umar moved to the big city, Makhachkala, to train with their Uncle Abdulmanap. Not yet famous around the world for mentoring Khabib and Islam Makhachev, but already notorious in the region for his coaching. First came competitive combat sambo then he made the full transition to MMA.

Brother Umar went the UFC route but with training partners Khabib and Islam already running the Lightweight picture in the octagon, Usman looked elsewhere to add another belt to the camp’s arsenal. From 2017 to 2020, Nurmagomedov compiled eleven victories before bludgeoning down Bellator’s door.

At just age 24, he captured the Lightweight crown in his fifth fight with the promotion. Usman just bested former UFC and WEC champ Benson Henderson in the biggest matchup of his career to date. He made it look too easy, courtesy of a round one rear naked choke. It was the first frame in Bellator’s Lightweight Championship Tournament and an extremely intriguing matchup with AJ McKee (20-1) looks all the more enticing by the day!

Usman Nurmagomedov | 17-0 | 5’11 155 lbs. | Age 24 | Reach 72” | Switch Stance | Fighting Out of Makhachkala, Dagestan, Russia

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