The Russian dominated the sport, never coming close to losing in any of his 29 professional bouts. However, Khabib’s amateur career was not as perfect.
In a Russian Combat Sambo final, a 17-year-old Khabib was beaten by Magomed Ibragimov.
Despite a competitive bout, the future UFC lightweight champion met his match in the form of a 20-year-old Ibragimov.
After tasting defeat for the first time, the Dagestan slumped to the floor and began to cry.
A victorious Ibragimov showed great sportsmanship as he consoled his clearly emotional opponent, lifting him to his feet after the bout.
Ibragimov would go on to have a successful fighting career himself, claiming a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics and 2018 Asian Games whilst representing Uzbekistan.
Having begun wrestling at a very young age, Khabib began practising Judo at 15 and was trained in Sambo by his father Abdulmanap, who passed away in July 2020.
He would go on to win three gold medals in the sport; in 2009 he competed at 74kg and claimed titles at the Russian and World Combat Sambo Championships.
A year later he would once again win gold at the World Championships, but this time he would fight at 82kg.
Despite the best efforts of UFC president Dana White, the 32-year-old has so far stuck to his guns and hasn’t returned to the Octagon for another box office fight.
Instead, he is focused on running his own MMA promotion, the Eagle Fighting Championship, which he purchased for $1 million following his retirement.
On January 28, the EFC will make their debut on US soil with EFC 44, headlined by Tyrone Spong vs Sergei Kharitonov.