World-renowned Russian UFC fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov was awarded the coveted $50,000 "Performance of the Night" bonus at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi on Saturday night. But that might not be all.
Nicknamed 'The Eagle,’ the 30-year-old fighter took home the paycheck following his victory over American opponent Dustin Poirier with a rear-naked choke that forced him to tap out in the third round at 2.06 minutes.
With more than 13,000 people in attendance at The Arena at Yas Island, his victory extended his unbeaten record to a remarkable 28-0.
Though the UFC 242’s official payouts will reportedly not be publicly released, his father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, and coach told Russian state news agency TASS that the undisputed world UFC champion is expected to make over approximately $6 million for his fight against Poirier.
"This time, it [the purse] will be 3-3.5-fold higher," his father told TASS last Wednesday. "We aren’t fighting for peanuts and we know our value."
Last October, the reigning lightweight champion took home $2 million for his dramatic victory over Irish professional mixed martial arts fighter and boxer, Conor McGregor, in the fourth round of their bout at UFC 229 in Las Vegas. He was suspended and fined $500,000 after attacking his opponent’s jiu-jitsu coach, Dillon Danis, which led to a chaotic brawl.
"That sum [of $2 million] is too little for us because we are the best at the moment," he continued. "We have defeated the best and are ready to keep fighting with the best."
In addition to the Dagestan-born mixed martial artist, UFC confirmed on Twitter that the three fighters – Ottman Azaitar, Belal Muhammad and Muslim Salikhov - also earned "Performance of the Night" bonuses.
In 2012, UFC made modifications to post-event bonuses, in which it awards "Performance of the Night" bonuses to athletes for having “the best and most exciting individual performances”.
Nurmagomedov said he is open to having another fight in the capital. It’s possible considering UFC’s five-year partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi.
With his recent victory, Nurmagomedov undeniably cemented himself as one of the world's prominent mixed martial artists in the UFC industry and his Abu Dhabi fight brought him to increasingly greater heights in his home country.
According to data compiled by Mediascope and TV Index and Russia's daily sports newspaper, Sport Express, his victory amassed 26 million views online across Channel 1’s various platforms (Perviy Canal) in the country. The fight also drew 24 % adult viewers across Russia and saw viewers in his Dagestani homeland fill up cinema halls and flood the streets to celebrate.
Since joining the world's leading mixed martial arts organization in 2012, he reached a record of 28 wins and no losses in all of his mixed martial arts fights.