Khabib Nurmagomedov has won praise for his coolness after a man leapt towards him during an event in England. The ex-UFC champ was more worried by his experience watching football at Liverpool, which he called “very dangerous”.
Hugely popular Nurmagomedov was nearing the end of a talk in the Yorkshire town of Harrogate when the unknown man jumped on to the stage, initially looking as if he wanted to confront the Russian before holding a camera up in a desperate bid for a photo.
As befits one of the greatest fighters of all time, Nurmagomedov did not appear remotely unsettled by the faintly concerning finale, and several members of his entourage moved in to remove the over-enthusiastic fan from the stage, including one wearing a hat with the Russian flag on it.
“At the end of the interview, the situation was a little tense,” reported one account that has been following Nurmagomedov on his mini-tour of the UK, which has taken in Manchester United’s Old Trafford home and Liverpool’s Anfield as part of a promotion in support of orphans worldwide.
No no no brother don’t do this has anyone ever been less concerned about being attacked https://t.co/r0lVLDDcxj
— Jack 'Tank' Shore (@jackshoremma) October 4, 2021
“Some did not want to sit down and everyone wanted to ask their own question.
“After that, one fan jumped onto the stage. Despite this, Khabib thanked everyone present and said parting words at the end.”
The unflappable-seeming former lightweight champion told the man: “No, no, no, brother – don’t do this.”
He then told the crowd: “Let me talk. I have come from another part of the world to see you guys and I deserve some respect.
“I just want to say… I feel like around the world, big, big support from my people, who have the same views that I have, and I really believe that here we have the same views.
“Please take care of your kids. This is our future. This is most important.”
The 33-year-old admitted that there are times when he feels less comfortable, including during his trip to see Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with reigning Premier League champions Manchester City at the Reds’ famous home earlier on Sunday.
“When I go to McDonald’s, I feel pressure: ‘who’s filming me?’” he confessed, earning laughter for his endearing honesty.
“If I go with friends, I say, ‘you have to have my back.’ Today, when we came out at Anfield, I was stuck with thousands of drunk Liverpool fans.
“I could not walk. It was people traffic. I felt pressure. And a lot of people were like, ‘ooh, Khabib’ – but they don’t understand who I am. Of course, I feel a lot of pressure. I was ready to fight.”
The teetotal Real Madrid supporter is obsessed with the game and does not feel the tribalism that fans in England are renowned for.
Nurmagomedov acknowledged that a photo with legendary United boss Sir Alex Ferguson may have made Liverpool fans a little wary of him – and footage has also emerged of the powerhouse larking around with star midfielder Paul Pogba and engaging in a good-humored face-off with former captain Rio Ferdinand.
Khabib vs Rio Ferdinand Face off and Pogba pic.twitter.com/IUkZbLq0a2
— ℕ (@stargazer109) October 3, 2021
“I go to the stadium to watch and enjoy this beautiful game,” he explained. “Today was very dangerous when I was with Liverpool fans but it was fun. And I was ready to fight.
“It was an amazing atmosphere today but the game was even better. I was rooting for Man City. I just love this sport.
“Manchester, Liverpool, I don’t care. I just love football, sport. I was watching this game – I don’t even blink. You guys can support whoever you want.”
Sharing a snap of himself with $122 million World Cup winner Pogba, Nurmagomedov told the France poster boy: “Be ready for the next time, bro.”
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