Despite his infamous “If Sambo was easy, it would be called Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu” T-shirt, Khabib Nurmagomedov has a ton of respect for the Gentle Art.
For example, in a “Muslim Money Experts” podcast, he spoke about Royce Gracie and his impact on the UFC:
I think because not many people knew how to use grappling, the submission game…
He [Royce] was the first.
There were a lot of wrestlers and strikers that fought him, and they were big, but they didn’t know how to deal with his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
He was looking amazing with these big guys.
Nurmagomedov continued to explain that Royce and his Gracie family had an outstanding big impact on the MMA world, all around the globe:
The way how they show this Gracie family to world: even if you’re small, you can beat bigger guys.
It was big news for everyone in the world. Even for Russian people, US people, Europe people… Everybody.
How Royce Gracie came to UFC and he make tap everyone.
Like, doesn’t matter if even he is, like, 50 kilo bigger than him.
A while back, Khabib also included Royce into his top 10 MMA fighters list:
My mma GOAT top 15
15) Dominic Cruz/Frankie Edgar
— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) April 12, 2023