Khabib Nurmagomedov named BBC World Sport Star of the Year to become first UFC award winner


UFC great Khabib Nurmagomedov has been named the BBC’s World Sport Star of the Year following his victory over Justin Gaethje in October.

The 32-year-old clinched his 29th consecutive victory at UFC 254 three months after the death of his father and trainer Abdulmanap, with his performance confirming his place at the top of the sport’s pound-for-pound rankings after retaining both his lightweight championship and his undefeated record.

Khabib announced his retirement immediately after the victory over Gaethje, but the feat was enough to see the Russian named the best global Sport Star of 2020 by a public vote as part of the BBC Sport Personality of the Year awards.

He fended off competition from pole-vaulter Armand Duplantis, basketballer LeBron James, golfer Dustin Johnson, footballer Wendie Renard and boxer Katie Taylor, and becomes the first UFC fighter to win the award since its inception in 1960, with Khabib only the fourth combat athlete to take the gong after Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and three-time winner Muhammad Ali.

The award will be presented during Sunday’s Sports Personality of the Year ceremony where Khabib’s emotional victory over Gaethje will be recognised, with the fighter taking the trophy on from last year’s winner Eliud Kipchoge, the four-time London Marathon winner who missed out on a fifth title earlier this year.

READ MORE: Khabib addresses possible UFC return

Seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton is favourite to take the top award after equalling Michael Schumacher’s record haul, with snooker world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan and jockey Hollie Doyle also in contention to be crowned 2020 BBC Sports Personality of the Year winner.

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World heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson and cricketer Stuart Broad are also in the running for the award after being shortlisted, but Fury has voiced his desire to be removed in the weeks leading up to the ceremony and on Monday issued a legal letter to the BBC demanding that he be taken off the shortlist.

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