Dagestan has a hyper-masculine culture idealizing physical prowess and toughness, formed by the harsh realities of mountain life, historical battles against neighboring tribes, and imperial occupation. It’s one where fighting is deeply rooted, and encouraged from a young age.
Former UFC fighter Ben Askren is a former Olympian in Wrestling for team USA and he has faced many Dagestani Wrestlers.
In this video, he explains why Dagestan Wrestlers are so good:
Dagestan’s Khabib Nurmagomedov is one of the best, if not the best fighter in the history of the UFC lightweight category.
UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has a world class grappling background.
He is a two time Combat Sambo World Champion, a freestyle wrestler and a Judo black belt, and also a BJJ white belt….
Like many children in Dagestan he began wrestling from an early age; at the age of six under the tutelage of his father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. A decorated athlete and a veteran of the Army, his father Abdulmanap had also wrestled from an early age before training in judo and sambo in the military. In 2001, his family moved to Machachkala. There, at the age of 12, he trained in wrestling, and from age 15 he began training in judo. After turning 17, he began training in combat sambo under his father. According to Khabib, the transition from wrestling to judo was difficult, but his father wanted him to get used to competing in a gi jacket. Abdulmanap is currently a senior coach for the combat sambo national team in the Republic of Dagestan, training several athletes in sambo and wrestling in Makhachkala, Russia. Khabib would frequently get into street fights in his youth, before focusing his attention to mixed martial arts.
Khabib Nurmagomedov holds a International Master of Sport in Sambo, a Black belt in Judo, a International Master of Sports in Pankration, a International Master of Sports in Army Hand-to-Hand Combat.
His Grappling competition achievements:
World Combat Sambo Federation:
2009 World Combat Sambo Championships (-74 kg) Gold Medalist
2010 World Cup in Combat Sambo (-82 kg) Silver Medalist
2010 World Combat Sambo Championships (-82 kg) Gold Medalist
Combat Sambo Federation of Russia
2009 Russian Combat Sambo Championships (-74 kg) Gold Medalist
All-Russian Sambo Federation
Russian Combat Sambo National Championships 21st (2010) (World Team Trials-FIAS)
Here is an interesting video of Khabib competing in 2012 at the NAGA world championship in the expert division. Khabib outright dominated all his opponents on his way to winning the title of:
2012 Men’s No-Gi Expert Welterweight Champion
2012 ADCC Rules No-Gi Expert Welterweight Champion.
In this video, he explains the difference between what he calls ‘Dagestan Wrestling’ and American style Wrestling:
Master The Art Of “Smeshing” With The Sambo-Hybrid Fighting System Of Khabib Nurmagomedov, The Iconic Undefeated UFC Champion Who Shows How He Dominated The Field In MMA With Revolutionary Ground Skills.
- Learn standing techniques, control and submissions on the ground, and even some of Khabib’s revolutionary cage work on this 3-part series.
- See how Khabib closes distance with strikes to set up takedowns, his tips on shooting, and using single legs, body locks, and more.