UFC commentator Joe Rogan believes Khabib Nurmagomedov is the biggest draw in combat sports.
During a recent episode of his podcast, Rogan was asked if trolling and trash talk were required to draw eyeballs from casuals such as how the Paul brothers were doing.
Rogan disagreed as he pointed to UFC lightweight champion Nurmagomedov who despite not being one to resort to trash talk, is one of the biggest draws in the sport.
However, Rogan went one step further as he believes “The Eagle” is the biggest draw in all of combat sports.
“Well, Khabib Nurmagomedov is the biggest draw in combat sports and he doesn’t do any trash talk,” Rogan said. “… When you have a guy who’s 29-0 and has really smashed everybody in front of them, you always wonder who’s going to be the guy that solves that riddle. Justin [Gaethje] came real close with those leg kicks. He was really f*cking up his leg, but Khabib figured out a way to get the fight to the ground. Almost finished it at the end of the first round and then got him in the second round.
“He’s on another level. … You gotta realize that guy is supremely disciplined and supremely dedicated. Doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t f*ck around, doesn’t abuse his body. Always fit, always in shape, always training and lives like a champion. He’s very religious. Very devout Muslim. He’s not partying. He’s not doing coke or banging hoes. None of that. He’s just smashing people.”
Is Rogan Correct?
Some of Rogan’s statements are a bit exaggerated.
For one, while Nurmagomedov doesn’t trash talk in general, he only really started to make headlines and become known in the mainstream once he started trash talking Conor McGregor during his post-fight interview at UFC 205.
To say he’s the biggest draw in all of combat sports is also misleading as while his pay-per-view headliner against McGregor at UFC 229 drew 2.4 million buys, that was mainly because of his heated rivalry with the Irishman who remains the biggest draw in the sport.
That was further emphasized when McGregor’s UFC 246 headliner against Donald Cerrone earlier this year — notably before the COVID-19 pandemic — drew over 1.3 million buys which would put it as the best-selling pay-per-view event of 2020.
UFC 254, featuring a lightweight title unification clash between Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje in October, meanwhile, drew a reported 675,000 pay-per-view buys. Though it must be noted that it took place during primetime hours at local time in Abu Dhabi.
All that said, Nurmagomedov is definitely among the biggest draws in combat sports. The biggest? Not yet.