On Saturday, October 6, Khabib Nurmagomedov faced Conor McGregor in the Octagon for the Lightweight Title at UFC 229 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The fight was one of the biggest mixed martial arts showdowns in recent memory. Murmagomedov was able to get McGregor in a neck crank in Round 4, causing the UFC champ to tap out.
Nurmogomedov’s religious beliefs are a frequent topic of conversation. Hailing from Dagestan, Russia, Nurmogomedov was raised in the Muslim faith.
Here’s what you need to know:
He Is a Devout Sunni Muslim
Nurmagomedov is a practicing Sunni Muslim, a branch which is the largest denomination of Islam. Sunni Muslims account for approximately 80 percent of the Muslim population in the world, according to Patheos. Additionally, Sunnis make up approximately 90 percent of the populations of Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.
“The Sunni are typically seen as putting more emphasis on the power of God and his determination of human fate, and are often understood to be more inclusive in their definition of what it means to be a Muslim. The Sunni tradition has placed great emphasis on the role of religion in public and political life, with great weight placed on the Shariah (Islamic law) as the standard for a broad range of social issues—marriage, divorce, inheritance, commerce, and so on,” Patheos reports.
He Grew Up in Russia
Nurmagomedov was born in the remote village of Sildi in the Tsumadinsky District, which is now modern-day Dagestan, Russia. According to a 2012 survey by the ARENA Project, 83 percent of respondents from Dagestan identified as adherents to Islam.
Nurmagomedov can frequently be seen wearing a papakha, a traditional sheepskin hat worn by Dagestanis and other tribes of the Caucasus region. Men and male children wear the papakha year-round, as noted in the Encyclopedia of National Dress: Traditional Clothing Around the World.
EA Issued an Apology to Nurmagomedov After Making His Character in a Video Game Use a Christian Celebration of Victory
A couple of years ago, Nurmagomedov found himself a part of EA Sports UFC 2. In the game, his character expressed a Christian celebration of victory, which is not in keeping with his actual Muslim faith.
“When Nurmagomedov wins in the game, his victory celebration involves him gesturing in the shape of a cross. It’s a canned animation other characters perform as well, but it’s something the real Nurmagomedov would pretty much never do,” Kotaku reported back in 2016.
At the time, Nurmagomedov took to social media to express his concerns to EA Sports. You can see his tweet below.
EA issued him an apology, which he shared on Instagram.