The whirl-wind victory tour and homecoming for UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov continued on Thursday, as the unbeaten fighter met with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Nurmagomedov unified the belts with a submission victory over Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi.
"I want to congratulate you," Putin said (thanks to RT Sport for the quotes). "It was a decent fight against a strong and tenacious rival."
Nurmagomedov referenced his 2018 bout with Conor McGregor when replying to Putin, saying "Yes, the opponent was strong and respectable. This time around I fought against a person who respected me."
Putin has previously met with McGregor and Nurmagomedov, connecting with the former UFC champion during the World Cup in 2018 held in Russia. He later congratulated Nurmagomedov in person following his win over McGregor.
"I watched the fight, you submitted him with a rear-naked choke, it was a classic choke hold," Putin said of the finish vs. Poirier. "You did it in the correct way, without squeezing his throat, as it should be. It was all fair."
Nurmagomedov and Putin met this time in Makhachkala, as Putin is on a business trip to Dagestan. His father, Abdulmanap, was also on hand for the meeting.