AKA gym coach Javier Mendes, who has worked with the UFC lightweight champion for many years Khabib Nurmagomedov, in his podcast on Youtube, shared his reaction to the news that the BBC had named Khabib “World Star of the Year”
“See what you can achieve if you work like Khabib every day. The BBC channel named him the most popular sportsman in the world. This is a real honour. No one from MMA has ever received such an award. Always awarded football stars, but never an MMA fighter. And Khabib was now given this award. This is a very valuable achievement. Among all the stars in the world, he received the most votes. Usually, someone like Cristiano [Ronaldo], Messi or some other outstanding footballer would receive the award. I doubt that there were boxers among the winners of such an award. I could be wrong about boxing, but in MMA no one got it.
Some might say that he is following in the footsteps of John Jones or Fedor Emelianenko, Kane Velazquez. But they have nothing, I have never heard such an award given to them. So I guess no one in MMA has ever received such an award before. ”
The BBC World Sports Star of the Year award takes history back to 1960, with five boxers going to boxers: three times to Muhammad Ali (1973, 1974 and 1978) and once to Mike Tyson (1989) and Evander Holyfield (1996).
There were no MMA fighters in the history of the award before Khabib. Four times the award was received by the athletes of the USSR: 1961 Valery Nikolaevich Brumel (athletics), 1968 Oleg Alekseevich Protopopov and Lyudmila Belousova (pair figure skating), 1972 Olga Valentinovna Korbut (gymnastics). After the collapse of the USSR, only Khabib Nurmagomedov from the CIS countries received the award in 2020.