On the tails of winning his third World Championship in Combat Sambo, Sheikh-Mansur Khabibulaev is all smiles. This time, his giant knockout with a spinning back kick set the world on fire. Khabibulaev isn’t letting it get to his head.
“Peace to you and your home brother,” Khabibulaev starts our interview off with. “Thank you very much for the congratulations. I don’t want to think about how well I fight or am one of the best sambists. All I think is to be better than yesterday to develop as an athlete and as a person. The Almighty gave me this and I am pleased with this, Alhamdulillah.”
If you recall to my first interview with Sheikh-Mansur Khabibulaev, you’ll remember he’s a deep man of God. He uses his skills to bring glory to God and that’s how he lives his life.
With three World Championships under his belt, I asked if Khabibulaev found this World Championship special and if there’s excitement anymore. He believes each World Championship is special and this one was in the making.
“I think each championship is unique and exciting in its own way, as well as the path to this championship, Well, we have been honing this blow for more than one month.”
“In Sha Allah, I am also going to continue to train and develop if the Almighty gives, then I will definitely win not races,” Khabibulaev continues. He knows how much personal growth in and out of Sambo is an important part of life.
Sheikh-Mansur Khabibulaev On Constant Improvement in Life
“I cannot be satisfied with myself, knowing that I had many mistakes and unfinished moments in this championship. There is always something to work on and something to learn, so there is no complete satisfaction with myself. But I am glad that I did not disappoint my team and my coaches, I am very glad that I was able to please all those people who cheered and supported me.”
Perhaps the biggest name in Russia in the combat sports world is Khabib Nurmagomedov. The only other person that could be seen bigger than Khabib is Olympic champion Abdulrashid Sadulaev, who just defeated Kyle Snyder in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. But, Khabib has a background in Sambo. So I asked Khabibulaev how would a Combat Sambo match between he and Khabib would go and he answered humbly as usual.
“I think this we will never know,” says Sheikh-Mansur Khabibulaev. “Khabib is one of those champions who are an example for me of what a champion should be.”
He continues naming what he believes a real champion should embody saying, “Muhammad Ali, Buvaysar Saytiev, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Fedor Emelianenko, Bislan Isaev. These people are examples of what a real champion should be. I admire such people and respect them.”
Among those champions, Sheikh-Mansur Khabibulaev mentioned two of the best ever in MMA: Khabib and Fedor, two champions known so ubiquitous that they are instantly recognized by their first names. Khabibulaev looks to them as inspiration for his MMA career, although, he’s waiting for the right offer. I asked if he wanted to continue his MMA career and he said that his coaches and team would determine when and if that would happen.
“Why not? If there are interesting proposals from a good MMA league, I and my coaches will consider this proposal and come to a mutual agreement. I am always interested in competitive events, especially in martial arts. It is in my blood.”
Khabibulaev then sends a message to the biggest man in the sport. “Dana White, we’re waiting for suggestions.”