Not only is Khabib Nurmagomedov the undefeated UFC lightweight champion, a new deal with the promotion has also made him the UFC’s highest paid fighter. Nurmagomedov’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, told MMAFighting that the recent negotiation to put Nurmagomedov in the UFC 242 headliner made him the highest paid fighter on the roster.
Nurmagomedov only had one fight left on his previous contract, so the new contract was a must with him heading into his next title fight. UFC 242 takes place on Sept. 7 in Abu Dhabi.
“We can’t ask for any better. We very grateful. Easiest negotiation I ever did. It was fair, straight to the point. This is one of the biggest deals in UFC history. I don’t care Conor [McGregor], I don’t care this is one of the biggest guaranteed money [contracts] in UFC history. When you do this kind of deal, people normally burn bridges. The bridges only got stronger, that’s all I’m going to say,” Abdelaziz told Damon Martin.
“The UFC stepped up. They give us what we want and they made a good business decision on their behalf and they made us a partner. We are all partners. We are in it together on this.”
Nurmagomedov is currently 27-0 and returning from a nine-month suspension. He last set foot in the Octagon at UFC 229 in October of 2018, where he submitted Conor McGregor in the fourth round. While he was on suspension, Dustin Poirier won the interim version of the title. Nurmagomedov and Poirier will unify the belts at UFC 242.
With Nurmagomedov being the UFC’s first Muslim champion and Islam being the official state religion of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi had its sights set on Nurmagomedov for the headliner in the first event of a new five-year partnership with the UFC. That partnership requires the UFC to operate an event with at least one title fight on the card each time it travels to Abu Dhabi.
According to Abdelaziz, it was a natural fit that made negotiations on Nurmagomedov’s new deal quite easy.
“The is like a prince getting to show off all of his skills in front of his own people. This is coming home,” Abdel-Aziz said. “This is the people who have been supporting him, the whole entire Middle East, the whole north of Africa, 1.5 billion Muslims and the UFC did the right decision. They know he is the biggest draw right now in the Muslim world and Dana White is an entrepreneur. Dana White is the biggest promoter in combat [sports] history. This is who he is and he made a very good business decision.”