Dana White reveals lavish gift Khabib received from Vladimir Putin after UFC 229 win over Conor McGregor

Khabib meets Putin

Following the biggest win of his mixed martial arts career, Khabib Nurmagomedov had a call waiting for him from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Considered by some to be the greatest fighter in UFC history, Nurmagomedov’s biggest moment came at UFC 229 in October 2018 when he scored a fourth-round submission victory over Irish megastar Conor McGregor. Immediately following the fight, Putin made the call to congratulate his countryman, but found himself on hold for quite a while as Nurmagomedov notoriously hopped the cage and lept into the crowd to fight one of McGregor’s cornermen — Dillon Danis.

By the time Khabib Nurmagomeov waded through a sea of security staff and police officers, Putin was still on the line and ready to hand ‘The Eagle’ a lavish and life-changing gift.

“He didn’t even make it back to his dressing room after the fight, and Putin was on the phone,” UFC CEO Dana White recounted of the UFC 229 saga on the “Games with Names” podcast. “Putin gave him and his father, like, $20 million worth of property in Russia. Then he went into the Muslim territories where these guys are like, cars, money, gyms, whatever he wanted.”

Nurmagomedov also received a Mercedes given to him by Putin’s ally and Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov, who has gained notoriety for his relationships with UFC fighters, most notably Khamzat Chimaev. It is believed that Chimaev’s close relationship with Kadyrov is why ‘Borz’ is running into issues obtaining a visa to fight in the United States.

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White believes Khabib Stopped short of becoming the undisputed MMA GOAT

Two years after his victory over McGregor, ‘The Eagle’ walked away from MMA following the death of his father and longtime trainer, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. Since then, White has tried to lure the former lightweight champion back, offering him a reported $40 million to return to the Octagon. But as is the situation with Conor McGregor, once you have the kind of money that Nurmagomedov has, it’s hard to wake up in the morning and willingly get punched in the face.

“Once you get to that level [of Nurmagomedov’s fame], it’s like what we’re dealing with with Conor McGregor,” White said. “Conor McGregor lives in a yacht in the middle of wherever the warmest place in the world is at that time. Once you get to that level, you’re not getting up and getting punched in the face anymore.”

White also believes that Khabib Nurmagomedov’s hasty exit after just three title defenses is the reason he failed to obtain MMA GOAT status in the eyes of the many, himself included.

“The GOAT is Jon Jones,” he said. “Jon Jones is undefeated. Khabib is undefeated, too, but I would have liked to have seen Khabib do more” (h/t MMA Fighting).