In the months following Khabib Nurmagomedov’s dominant victory against Conor McGregor at UFC 229, the Eagle’s popularity has continued to soar. After defeating McGregor by fourth-round submission to cement his status as the undisputed UFC lightweight champion, the Dagestani native embarked on a victory tour around the world to celebrate his accomplishment. He also met with an array of controversial politicians and world leaders such as Russian president Vladimir Putin, Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov, and Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The Middle Eastern portion of Nurmagomedov’s expedition also included stops in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where he met with members of the respective royal families. While in Dubai, the UFC champion posed alongside Sagid Murtazaliev, an Olympic gold medalist in freestyle wrestling who was accused of financing terrorism and is a suspect in several murders. He fled Russia and is currently wanted by the government.