Former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov bumped into a fellow combat sports icon when he met British boxing sensation Prince Naseem Hamed on a trip to Mecca during Ramadan.
Devout Muslim Khabib has been on a visit to the sacred Saudi Arabian site, sharing images on Instagram along with friends including Shamil Zavurov – who is also president of Khabib’s Eagle Fighting Championship MMA promotion.
One familiar face Khabib crossed paths with was Prince Naseem, the former British featherweight boxing sensation who set the world alight with his flamboyant displays after exploding onto the scene in the 1990s.
Khabib shared a picture with his 28 million Instagram followers of himself clasping hands with Hamed, who had one finger raised towards the former UFC star.
“Accidentally met a legend in Mecca. Nice to meet you Brother,” Khabib wrote in the accompanying caption.
The 47-year-old Hamed, a more rotund figure than during his ring days, also shared the picture on his Instagram account, writing: “The Eagle and The Prince! A pleasure to meet you brother.”
Commenting on the pictures, Khabib’s coach Javier Mendez wrote “he was part of the huge change in walkout entrances,” referring to the extravagant entrances Hamed put on for fans whenever he stepped between the ropes.
Hamed last fought in 2002 when he won the vacant IBO featherweight title by defeating Manuel Calvo via unanimous decision at Wembley.
The Sheffield-born star’s sole defeat in a glittering 37-fight career came against Marco Antonio Barrera in Las Vegas in April of 2001.
Famed for goading his opponents as he slipped punches, Hamed was widely regarded as one of the most exciting and entertaining fighters of his generation, who helped inject new levels of showmanship into the sport.
He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2016 and is ranked by ESPN as among the top 25 pound-for-pound fighters of the last 25 years.
Khabib meanwhile continues to enjoy his retirement, having laid down his gloves after defeating Justin Gaethje in their lightweight title fight last October to improve his perfect professional record to 29-0.
Khabib’s attentions have now turned to coaching teammates such as family members Umar and Usman Nurmagomedov, while the 32-year-old Dagestani icon has myriad business interests including his Eagle FC promotion.
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