15 Best Russian UFC Fighters of All Time

There have been numerous notable Russian fighters in mixed martial arts history. With that in mind, trying to rank the best Russian UFC fighters of all time is not an easy task, but that’s exactly what we’re about to do here.

Russian UFC fighters side by side

We’ll cover many of the GOATs who graced the sport below. All of the fighters from our list are part of the 85 federal subjects of the Russian Federation.

All of these Russian nationalities are required to have the same Russian passport in order to travel. Other nations, which were former Soviet states, also get lumped into this grouping. Although, they aren’t technically Russian and don’t have Russian passports.

1. Khabib Nurmagomedov

Every Khabib Nurmagomedov Finish

Of all of the famous Russian UFC fighters, Khabib Nurmagomedov is far above them all. Khabib is arguably the greatest MMA fighter of all time and certainly one of the best strikers in MMA history. Not only does his record prove it, but how he won his fights proves this claim.

Khabib is put at the Jon Jones and GSP level of MMA GOATS for being one of the sport’s most dominant fighters. He called his stylesmesh,” which perfectly summed it up.

From the time Khabib could walk, he was bred to be a champion. His father was one of the greatest wrestlers and Sambo experts in the history of the USSR.

Nurmagomedov’s father was loving but also hard on his son. He even made Khabib wrestle bears, which helped improve his wrestling.

Since he was a teen, Khabib would compete in Sambo and MMA simultaneously. At the same time, Khabib became a 2x Sambo World Champion; his pro MMA record was 8-0.

After the second Sambo world title, Khabib would put 100% of his focus on MMA. He’d boost his record to 16-0 before making his UFC debut in 2012.

Khabib would slowly work his way up the ranks and begin smashing everyone put in front of him. With each win, Nurmagomedov would get more buzz around.

UFC fans really started to believe he was a contender after demoralizing Michael Johnson at UFC 205. Throughout the fight, Khabib kept asking Johnson to quit because he didn’t want to hurt him.

Around this time, there was talk of Khabib fighting Conor McGregor for the title. The leadup to their match would be one of the craziest in the UFC’s history. Everything from Conor throwing a dolly to Khabib starting a riot after their match.

But when the two met, Khabib had the most dominant win of his career. He pummelled McGregor for four rounds to defend the UFC Lightweight Championship.

This win cemented Khabib as the sport’s P4P best fighter and made him an icon. He would then dominate Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje before retiring at his mother’s wish.

The UFC has repeatedly thrown offers to Khabib to return, but he has refused them all. Even if we never see Khabib fight again, his legacy is secured.

2. Fedor Emilianenko

Just Brutal Knockouts... Here's Why Fedor Emelianenko Was The Greatest Fighter Ever

Some might dispute the addition of Fedor Emilianenko to the list. The obvious reason is that Fedor was never in the UFC.

An exception is being made for Fedor because, before Khabib, Fedor was the king of MMA. In the golden era of MMA, Fedor was considered the greatest of them all.

The last emperor was bred to be a champion fighter from an early age. He would make his pro debut at 24 and buzzsaw through MMA and Combat Sambo.

Aside from an accidental headbutt loss in his fifth pro fight, Emilanenko looked unstoppable. In just two years as a pro, Fedor would debut in PRIDE FC with a 10-1 record.

After just two in, Fedor would fight for the title and easily beat a prime Minotauro Nogueira for the title. This would begin one of the most dominant reigns in the history of MMA.

Emilianenko didn’t just become numerous MMA legends but completely shut them down. You can count on one hand the number of times Fedor was hurt or in trouble while fighting in PRIDE.

This reign as the king of MMA lasted over a decade. Even after his shocking loss to Fabricio Werdum, Fedor still had some stunning knockouts.

Even if Fedor wasn’t in the UFC, he is still far more known than all of the famous UFC Russian fighters. Not only was he the most famous Russian MMA fighter in the world, but he was also one of the most innovative.

His relentless pressure, striking, ground-and-pound, and submission skills made Fedor very influential. Future generations of fighters have adopted Fedor’s vicious style, which made him successful.

For his accolades and the evolution of MMA, Fedor Emilianenko had to be added.

3. Valentina Shevchenko

Valentina Shevchenko's Championship Reign

Of all the famous Russian UFC fighters, Valentina Shevchenko is easily the best female fighter. Valentina has been one of the best female MMA fighters in the world for years. Some even consider her one of the women’s UFC fighter GOATS.

Bullet grew up in Russia but later moved with her family to Kyrgyzstan. At five, Valentina would take up Taekwondo and become quite competitive.

When Valentina turned twelve, she started learning Muay Thai and freestyle Vale Tudo. She became a professional fighter at fifteen and competed in MMA and kickboxing.

Shevchenko would gain far more success in kickboxing, where she would win over ten world championships. Making her one of the most decorated kickboxers ever.

After retiring from kickboxing in 2015, Valentina would pursue MMA full-time to earn a UFC title. She would debut above her weight class at bantamweight and have a shaky start.

She went 3-2 in her first five UFC fights and lost to Amanda Nunes twice. The UFC would then debut the women’s flyweight division at 125lbs, which was perfect for Shevchenko.

For the next eight fights, Valentina would go on one of the most dominant runs in women’s MMA history. Not losing a moment in these fights and finishing nearly all of her opponents.

At the beginning of her UFC run, Valentina was touted for her elite striking ability. She would then improve her grappling and become one of the most well-rounded female fighters in the sport.

One of her statement wins was a title defense against Jessica Andrade. In this fight, she dominated a BJJ black belt on the ground and finished the fight with vicious elbows.

Her next opponent, Lauren Murphy, would lose in a similarly dominating fashion. Two of her most dominating wins next to her head kick KO win vs. Jessica Eye.

On her seventh title defense, Shevchenko would look weak one of the few times in her career. She had some scares against Talia Santos, but the judges would award Valentina the fight in a controversial split decision.

She would finally be uncrowned in her next fight against Alexa Grasso. Even though Valentina is no longer the champion, she still holds almost all of the women’s MMA records. The fans eagerly await to see if she can bounce back and win her second UFC title.

This would just further add to the resume of Valentina as she’s already considered one of the women’s MMA GOATS.

4. Andrei Arlovski

Fighter Timeline: Andrei Arlovski

One of the long-time most famous Russian UFC fighters is the former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski. The pitbull from Belarus is the most tenured fighter in the UFC, who made his promotional debut in 2000.

At just 20 years old, he would win his UFC debut with an armbar against Aaron Brink. But then suffered back-to-back KO losses against legends Pedro Rizzo and Ricco Rodriguez.

Arlovski would bounce back and go on the run of his career. Arlovski would win and defend the UFC Heavyweight Championship twice in his six-fight wins streak. Marking him as one of the best MMA fighters of the 2000s.

After losing the title to Tim Sylvia, Arlovski would finish his first UFC contract and travel the world. Fighting the world’s best fighters within various promotions, which many are all-time fan favorites.

Some of Andrei’s biggest matches outside the UFC included knocking out Ben Rothwell and Roy Nelson. But by far, the biggest was against MMA legend Fedor Emilianenko on the short-lived Affliction promotion.

It was a match Arlovski was winning before Fedor landed a wild right hand to get the knockout. He would go on to fight for every promotion from Strikeforce, ONE, and WSOF during this time period.

Andrei would return to the UFC in 2015 after seven years away from the promotion. He started his second UFC run with four straight wins, which included his career performance vs. Travis Browne.

What we know Andrei for most is crisp striking and knockout power. He always goes for the kill, which has worked and sometimes didn’t.

The pitbull would go through his ups and downs in his second run but always put some wins together. Even during his downs, Andrei is still revered as one of the best Russian UFC fighters ever.

Andrei is still out there at 44, mixing it up with the best heavyweights in the world. He’s a future UFC Hall of Famer and will always have the respect of the fans.

5. Petr Yan

Petr Yan is, without a doubt, one of the all-timers. The former Interim UFC Bantamweight Champion is one of the most talented fighters in the division.

From the age of 12, the Dudinka, a Russian native, would begin learning Taekwondo. He would then begin sneaking off with his older brother to learn boxing.

Yan competed in amateur boxing for eight years and earned a Master of Sport for his achievements. After graduating from college, Yan made his pro-MMA debut in 2014 with a KO win in the 3rd round.

Petr would win the ABC Bantamweight Championship in just three years as a pro and improve his record to 8-1. This would lead to him earning a UFC debut in 2018, where he knocked out Teruto Ishihara in the first round.

His first UFC win was a statement that got everyone talking about Yan’s explosive striking. He would slice through numerous contenders and vets like Jimmie Rivera and John Dodson.

Then he made two big statement knockout wins against legends Urijah Faber and Jose Aldo. Showing that the new generation of fighters has taken over.

The trash talk going into Petr’s first title bout with Aljamain Sterling was tense. It was a fight that many figured Yan would control and did until his blatant illegal knee cost him the fight and the title.

In usual Yan fashion, he would bounce back against Cory Sandhagen to win the interim title. Setting up a rematch against Sterling.

Then, the craziest streak of bad luck would hit Yan. He would not only lose one controversial split decision but two in a row.

Yan lost a split decision to Sterling and then another to O’Malley. These losses may have affected Petr mentally as he would lose a third fight in a row to Merab Dvalishvili.

Hopefully, Yan gets back on track because he’s a talented fighter. He’s easily one of the most skilled Russian UFC fighters currently fighting today.

6. Islam Makhachev

Islam Makhachev's 7-Fight Win Streak

Since Khabib retired, the heir to the UFC Lightweight throne was passed to Islam Makhachev. The reigning UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and protege of GOAT Khabib Nurmagomedov.

From the time Islam was a kid, he trained under Khabib’s father. He was bred to be a champion and realize this dream later in his career.

He would begin his training, learning wrestling and Sambo. He would later move into Combat Sambo and MMA training as he got older.

Like Khabib, Islam has the classic Daegastani smesh style. Elite top-heavy wrestling blended with power to crush his opponents.

After a successful Sambo career at the junior level, Makhachev became a pro-MMA fighter at nineteen. While fighting as a pro-MMA fighter, he would also compete simultaneously for Combat Sambo.

Just like his coach and mentor, Islam would dominate his early opponents with superior power grappling. After five years of beating every fighter from around Russia, Islam had an undefeated 11-0 record.

He would debut in the UFC in 2015 as a highly touted prospect and meet the hype. Islam made easy work of his first opponent with a 2nd round submission win.

But Islam and his Dagaestani team would be shocked by the knockout loss he would suffer next. While trying to set up a takedown, Islam let his guard down.

His opponent, Adriano Martins, would throw a wild power shot that would connect with Islam’s chin. Rocking the Daegastani fighter, which forced the official to step in.

This devastating loss wouldn’t be the end for Islam, but a new beginning. He would transform into the elite fighter that we know him as today.

In 2016, Islam would start his 11-fight win streak with a decision against Chris Wade. Islam would also win the World Combat Sambo Championship within the same year.

Everybody that was put in front of Islam would get the Dagaestani smesh. He keeps constant pressure on his opponents while smothering them with relentless wrestling.

His method of dragging his opponents to deep water would make him one of the division’s most feared fighters. Many fight fans assumed that Khabib would eventually retire and give the throne to Islam.

This would soon become a realization for Makhachev. His mentor retired, which left the division-wide open.

Islam would begin calling for the world title and gain a big fan base. Becoming one of the best Russian UFC fighters in the world.

In one-sided fights, he crushed tough fighters like Dan Hooker and Bobby Green to earn a title shot. Makhachev would eventually earn his title shot against champion Charles Oliveira.

Many assumed that the bout would be a war, but Islam would have the best performance of his career. Islam would completely shut down Oliveira from the beginning of their bout.

He used his power wrestling to control Charles and lock on an arm-triangle choke to get the win. The era of Islam had begun.

Islam defended the title against UFC Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski for his first challenge. This would be an eye-opening fight for MMA fans as they saw cracks in Islam’s armor for the first time.

While Islam did outpower Volk on the ground, he showed that his conditioning and striking are his weak points. Towards the end of the fight, Islam would gas and nearly gets submitted at the end of the fight.

Islam was somewhat exposed, but he could easily ride the ship. His second title defense will be a rematch against Charles Oliveira, which he aims to dominate again.

7. Zabit Magomedsharipov

Zabit Magomedsharipov - When striking becomes art

Zabit Magomedsharipov is one of the most talented Russian UFC fighters, and he also has the charisma to match his talent.

From age ten, Magomedsharipov began learning folk wrestling and Sanda. The Dagaestani native was able to learn this combination of styles from being enrolled at the Pyat Storon Sveta. A national Dagaestani academy that taught Wushu style.

After spending a decade at the school, where he trained three times a day, Zabit would become a pro-MMA fighter.

From 2012 to 2016, Zabit earned a record of 12-1 and was considered the best Russian fighter not in the UFC. With a lot of hype behind him, Zabit would make his UFC debut in 2017 against Mike Santiago.

This performance got many talking that Magmomedsharipov was going to be a champion. He’d start his UFC career by going 3-0 with performance bonuses and FOTN honors.

The Zabit hype train would continue as he’d beat Brandon Davis and Jeremy Stephens to establish himself as a top contender. His last fight took place in 2019 against Calvin Kattar, which would earn another FOTN award.

Zabit is unique because he didn’t have the style of the average Dagaestani fighter. He does have elite wrestling, but his striking skills are well above the other top Dagaestani fighters.

Unfortunately, Zabit was struck with multiple health issues that would sideline him for years. In 2022, Magomedsharipov would announce that he was retiring due to those health issues.

If not for those health issues, we could’ve seen Zabit take on Alexander Volkanovski for the title. Zabit is happy with his decision and is now coaching his brother, who is currently fighting in Bellator MMA.

8. Oleg Taktarov

Oleg Taktarov Vs. Anthony Macias - UFC 6

Many probably know Oleg Taktarov for his work as an actor. But they may not know that Oleg is a Russian MMA pioneer.

As a kid, Taktarov took a liking to Sambo and Judo. He would excel at both martial arts and later become an instructor for the KGB.

Taktarov would also take up learning Japanese Jujutsu before entering early fighting events called Jujutsu Full Contact. An early mixed-rule fighting event, where competitors had to wear kimonos, that Taktarov won four times.

Then, he would get his first pro-MMA experience by winning a weekend fighting tournament put on by Lativian promotion White Angel.

However, due to political tension, Oleg fled Russia and moved to the US. He initially wanted to be an actor but chose to be a pro-fighter to extend his Visa.

As luck would have it, the UFC had recently been created and was looking for fighters. Oleg would become the first Russian UFC fighter to compete in the organization.

He made his debut at the UFC 5 Tournament. Oleg won his first match before losing by cut against UFC Hall of Famer Dan Severn in his second fight.

Taktarov would be invited back to the UFC 6 Tournament and look to win it all. He would hit two guillotine chokes to win in the quarter and semifinals to set up a match against Tank Abbott.

Tank was the early boogeyman of the UFC that all the fighters feared. Taktarov would absorb a barrage of bombs for over ten minutes before locking in an RNC to win the tournament.

Oleg received a lot of fighting opportunities after winning the UFC tourney. He’d spend the next five years fighting full-time. In that time, Oleg would fight legends like Ken Shamrock, Renzo Gracie, Marco Ruas, and Gary Goodridge.

Takarov would begin landing film roles in the early 2000s and would only fight sporadically. Appearing in various films like Predators, 15 Minutes, and National Treasure.

But while working as an actor, Taktaroc would still take the occasional match. His last fight would be a kneebar win over Mark Kerr in 2008.

Many know Oleg Taktarov as one of the most famous UFC fighters from his film career. Forgetting that he was an MMA pioneer with one of the most well-rounded fighters of the era.

9. Sergei Pavlovich

Sergei Pavlovich | UFC Resume - 2022

Sergei Pavlovich is a well-known fighter who has been laying a path of destruction. He’s one of the top contenders in the UFC heavyweight division that has knocked out nearly every opponent.

The Oblast, Russian native Pavlovich had been wrestling since age five. When he entered the army at seventeen, Sergei would transition to learning Combat Sambo.

While enlisted, Pavlovich would become one of the best Combat Sambo fighters in the Russian military. Once his contract ended, Sergei would go into professional MMA in 2014.

He would spend the next four years fighting within various promotions around Russia. He earned a record of 12-0 before getting an invitation to fight Alistair Overeem at a UFC FN event in China.

The first fight nerves got to Sergei as he received his first pro loss after being TKO’d in the first round.

This loss would be the catalyst that would create a monster. The loss motivated Pavlovich to evolve as a fighter.

He would proceed to knock out everyone placed in front of him. Knocking out KO kings Derrick Lewis and Tai Tuivasa to extend his record to 17-1.

His last KO win against Curtis Blaydes may have been his best, as it showed his wrestling defense. When asked after the fight, Sergei would say he has high-level wrestling but prefers getting the KO.

Sergei currently has the longest win streak in the heavyweight division and is patiently waiting for a title fight. If he’s able to become champion, Pavlovich could be considered one of the Russian MMA greats.

10. Khazmat Chimaev

Best Khamzat Chimaev Moments

Khazmat Chimaev is one of the most feared Russian UFC Fighters. The Chechen native has destroyed just about every opponent that was put in front of him.

From an early age, Chimaev started wrestling and would continue through his childhood. He reportedly won a bronze medal at a national Russian junior wrestling tournament during his childhood.

Chimaev immigrated to Sweden with his mother to live with his brother at eighteen. Once in Sweden, Khazmat continued to wrestle and become the best wrestler in Sweden.

He won Sweden’s National Wrestling Championship three years in a row from 2016 to 2018. While Chimaev was the top Swedish wrestler, he would also begin learning MMA.

His teammates included UFC fighters Alexander Gustafsson, Ilir Latifi, and Reza Madadi. All three said that Khazmat was one of the best they ever trained with.

On the mat, Chimaev would train like a madman. Going as hard as possible for hours on end every day. This would create his strong mental toughness and imposing personality.

After just a few amateur fights in 2017, Khazmat would go pro in 2018. In his first six fights, he would finish all of his opponents.

This is all it took for Chimaev to make it to the UFC. In his first four fights, Khazmat didn’t just beat his opponents but demolished them.

He made them look like they didn’t belong in the same sport. Chimaev looked like he was unstoppable.

His first challenge would come against UFC vet Gilbert Burns, who brought Chimaev a fight. This was the first time that we ever saw Khazmat hurt.

The judges would award him the decision, which many fans criticized. Chimaev would then seemingly sabotage a fight against Nate Diaz, where he came in ten pounds over.

Due to the miss, the UFC scrambled and rescheduled him to fight a smaller Kevin Holland. He manhandled Holland as expected and hasn’t fought in a year.

What has helped Khazmat become so well known is his outspoken personality. When he isn’t training, Chimaev calls out every top UFC welterweight and middleweight on Twitter.

Some of the callouts have spilled over to real-life encounters. These tactics are moves to try to get more eyes on his future fights, which there most certainly will be.

11. Alexander Volkov

Rise of Alexander Volkov

MMA fans have been watching Alexander Volkov compete for years. His time fighting for the biggest MMA promotions has made him one of the world’s most respected Russian UFC fighters.

The Karate and BJJ black belt is one of the tallest fighters in the world. He has used that long-range and high-level striking to beat numerous top fighters.

Alexander signed with Russian promotion M-1 when he was just twenty years old. For the next three years, Volkov would fight within Russia and earn a record of 17-3.

This impressive record would earn him an invite to Bellator MMA’s seventh tournament. Volkov would win the tournament and the vacant Bellator Heavyweight Championship.

He’d lose the title in his next bout but would later win the season 10 heavyweight tournament. After his contract with Bellator ended, Alexander would re-sign with M-1 and win the promotion’s heavyweight title.

This would lead to Volkov finally getting a call to fight in the UFC. He would look like the next big heavyweight prospect by winning his first four fights.

But a devastating KO loss to Derrick Lewis would derail Volkov. After that loss, Volkov would go through a pattern of winning a few fights and then suffering a loss.

During his current UFC run, Volkov has beaten like Overeem, Harris, Rozenstruik, and a recent TKO win over Romanov.

You will see two fighters when you watch Volkov’s UFC fights. One is the crisp striker who controls the range and lands his strikes at will.

The other Volkov makes small mental errors that cost him fights. He’ll give his opponent an opening to end the fight and put his title shot just out of reach. Alexander can easily fight for the title in the future if he’s able to fix these mistakes.

12. Aleksei Oleinik

Top Submissions: Aleksei Oleinik | The Boa Constrictor

If Aleksei Oleinik isn’t just one of the most famous Russian UFC fighters, he’s one of the most beloved. He is one of the most talented Russian grapplers in the history of MMA.

As a teen, Oleinik would train in everything from Judo, Jujutsu, and Combat Sambo. He would start his pro-fighting career at age twenty in 1997.

He would spend the first decade of his fighting career fighting primarily within Russia and Ukraine. He was only able to secure a visa to enter Canada in 2007 and a US visa in 2008.

Aleksei would have more visa issues that would cut his time short in Bellator MMA in 2010. With two decades in the sport and nearly fifty pro fights, Olenik had still yet to fight in the UFC.

He would spend the next three years fighting around Russia and Europe to earn a record of 51-9-1. His visa issues would finally be cleared, and Aleksei would make his UFC debut in 2014.

Aleksi would hit his patented scarf-hold armlock to win his debut and a KO in his second fight. Oleinik would spend the next decade in the organization, fighting the world’s best heavyweights.

What Aleksei was remembered most for about his UFC run was being a submission specialist. He is the only fighter in UFC history to get not one but two Ezekeil chokes. Both while being mounted. Hardcore UFC fans enjoyed Olenik’s time in the career, and at 46, he is still fighting.

Aleksei fought some of the sport’s best fighters and legends in his nearly thirty-year fighting career. This includes big wins over Cro Cop, Fabricio Werdum, Mark Hunt, and Travis Browne.

After finishing his run in the UFC, Oleknik holds the second most submission wins at heavyweight with seven. He is also the only fighter in UFC history to win two matches by Ezekiel choke.

As of now, Olenik has seventy-nine pro-MMA bouts and looks to make it eight in the future.

13. Magomed Ankalaev

Magomed Ankalaev | Top Knockouts

Magomed Ankalaev came from a family of respected wrestlers. He would begin learning Greco-Roman style wrestling while studying at the Dagaestani State University.

As he continued to wrestle, he would also take up Sambo and then later Combat Sambo and MMA during his teen years. Ankalaev became one of the world’s best Amateur MMA and Combat Sambo athletes.

From 2013 to 2016, Magomed won 11 different Russian amateur titles in MMA and Combat Sambo. Ankalaev became an MMA pro in 2014 as he continued his Combat Sambo career.

When Ankalaev decided to become a full-time MMA fighter, he already had a 7-0 pro record. He would enter the UFC at 9-0 in 2018 to fight UFC contender Paul Craig.

Magomed would suffer this loss of his career, which was an embarrassing highlight-reel submission. This loss would lead Magomed to become one of the most feared fighters in the light-heavyweight division.

He would begin cutting through top contenders during his nine-fight win streak. Ankalaev did not display the traditional heavy-wrestling Dagastaeni style during this dominant win streak.

Instead, Magomed displayed some of the most powerful striking games in the light-heavyweight division. He earned five knockout wins during this streak, with the biggest being a statement TKO of former title contender Anthony Smith.

This impressive nine-fight win streak earned Magomed a title fight against Jan Blachowicz at UFC 282. What was expected to be an all-out war between two heavy-handed sluggers had a disappointing finish.

The judges declared the fight a split draw, and neither fighter went home with the belt. This decision was controversial as polls showed that many felt Magomed won the match.

Since the disappointing draw, Magomed has been slated to fight Johnny Walker at UFC 294. Winning this match could lead Ankalae to earn another title shot. Maybe even a possible future match against Alex Pereira.

If Magomed is able to earn UFC gold, he will become the first Russian UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion in history. Catapulting him into stardom and a high level of fame.

14. Umar Nurmagomedov

Umar Nurmagomedov Highlights 2023 [HD]

Just when UFC fighters let out a sigh of relief that Khabib retired, another Nurmagomedov is in the UFC. Khabib’s cousin, Umar Nurmagomedov, is a rising star in the UFC bantamweight division.

Being a Nurmagomedov, Umar would grow up learning Sambo and wrestling. He would be coached by Khabib’s father and receive the same brutal training.

These grueling training sessions that Eagles MMA is known for produce champions, and Umar could be the next one.

Umar would win the World Combat Sambo World Championship at just nineteen years of age. He would follow this championship by winning an amateur MMA world title at 20.

This success as an amateur would lead Umar to become a pro-MMA fighter in December 2016. Just like a Nurmagomedov would, Umar would walk through his opponents.

He would crush every opponent around Russia and win titles in multiple organizations. After six years as a pro with a perfect 12-0 record, Umar would enter the UFC.

He’d make easy work of his first two opponents at bantamweight and featherweight, winning both by rear naked choke. Islam would return to bantamweight in his 3rd UFC fight and win a decision.

He would display his technical striking game in Umar’s fourth and latest UFC bout. He ended the bout with a body kick and punch combo to stop Raoni Barcelos in the first round.

Just like his cousin Khabi and fellow countrymen, Umar has a smothering wrestling game. But as he showed in his latest win, he also possesses high-level speed and striking.

Umar Nurmagomedov is a rising star that is bound to fight for a UFC title. In interviews, Umar has expressed interest in becoming a two-division champ and chasing the bantamweight and featherweight titles.

If Umar is able to achieve this feat, he’ll easily be one of the most loved Russian UFC fighters ever.

15. Askar Askarhov

Askar "Bullet" Askarov Highlights 2022 [HD]

Flyweight contender Askar Askarhov is one of the greatest Russian UFC fighters for two reasons. Askar is incredibly talented, and he is also legally deaf.

He was born deaf but would later develop some hearing, but is still disabled. Despite this disability, Askarhove would become an incredibly talented wrestler and Combat Sambo athlete.

At 21, Askar would become a pro MMA fighter in 2013. Even from the early stages of his career, Askar was outworking his opponents. Showcasing well-rounded skills and superior cardio.

From 2013 to 2018, Askarhov would earn an 11-0 record and win the ACB Flyweight Championship. At the same time, Askar earned gold, competing in the World Deaflympics Games and a bronze at the World Deaf Championships.

His UFC debut would be against future division champion Brandon Moreno. The two would go back and forth for three rounds, which resulted in a split draw.

It was disappointing for Askar, but he would quickly bounce back. His next three fights would be one-sided decision wins for Askharov.

This included beating the current division champion Alexandre Pantoja and retiring UFC vet Joe Benavidez. These impressive wins set up a highly touted matchup against Kai Kara-France.

Kai would get the better of the Dagaestani fighter and control him in a decision win. After this loss, Askarhov hasn’t fought in over two years.

He’s had multiple bouts canceled, and one that was a last-minute cancelation due to a weight-cutting issue. Askar would be granted his release to take time away from fighting to recover physically and mentally.

Fight fans hope to see the top Dagaestani fighter get better and return to the octagon. He has the potential to become the first Russian/Dagaestani UFC Flyweight Champion ever.

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