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Zubaira Tukhugov Shares Memorable Khabib Nurmagomedov Story



Zubaira Tukhugov recently shared an endearing instance of Khabib Nurmagomedov looking out for him.

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Tukhugov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov were the two Nurmagomedov Team members suspended for jumping the cage and attacking Conor McGregor during the infamous UFC 229 brawl. The Nevada State Athletic Commission later reduced their suspension by 35 days after reaching a community service agreement.

However, the reduced sentence was no coincidence as it made them eligible to compete at UFC 242 on Sep. 7, 2019. The Ultimate Fighting Championship was keen on Nurmagomedov defending his lightweight strap against Dustin Poirier in the main event at UFC 242. Meanwhile, “Eagle” refused to return to action until his teammates were cleared to fight on the same bill.

Tukhugov further revealed that Nurmagomedov went to bat for him, insisting on a spot for “Warrior” on the same card. When Dana White instead offered Tukhugov a fight at UFC Moscow later that year, the Dagestani claims Nurmagomedov was even ready to turn down the Poirier matchup, which was his biggest payday at that point of his career. Tukhugov soon received a call from UFC’s Hunter Campbell, confirming a spot on the card where he went on to fight Lerone Murphy to a split draw.

“Nobody has ever revealed it: I got suspended, my contract was terminated. Khabib said, ‘Zubaira will fight first and then I will fight too.’ After the [Conor] McGregor fight, the UFC really needed Khabib so they gave me a new contract,” Tukhugov recently told Russian podcaster Aslanbek Badaev. “They also promised to put me on the Abu Dhabi card with Khabib and Islam. But Dana White said they had no room for me on that card so they were going to let me fight in Moscow. He tried to make Khabib change his mind but Khabib was like, ‘OK, I’m going to rip this contract up now, I will give my spot on the card to Zubaira if you don’t have it for him.’ It was his first really good payday, I said, ‘Please don’t do that.’ And then Hunter called me and said that he respected Khabib’s decision and decided to remove a few to let me on the card. That’s how I managed to be part of the event.”

Tukhugov has gone 2-2 since and most recently recorded a split decision loss against Brazilian prospect Elves Brener at UFC 284 in February 2023.
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