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8 Jan, 2019 15:40

Mecca trips & Real Madrid training: UFC champ Khabib vows to make young fans’ dreams come true

Mecca trips & Real Madrid training: UFC champ Khabib vows to make young fans’ dreams come true

Russian UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has vowed to grant the wishes of 10 young fans who wrote to him as part of the MMA star’s #LettertoKhabib initiative.

UFC lightweight king Nurmagomedov announced the idea around a week ago, asking young fans to write to him with their dreams for 2019 and promising to help make them come true – or at least come as close as possible to realizing them.  

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The Dagestani fighter, 30, has now begun to announce the 10 fans chosen from the masses of messages he says he received under the hashtag which translates from Russian as #LettertoKhabib, with support from some of his sponsors. 

The first winners announced on Tuesday to Nurmagomedov's 13.4 million Instagram followers included two youngsters who told the fighter – who is a devout Muslim – of their wish to go with their families to Mecca on the Hajj.

Nurmagomedov promised to contact the youngsters, as well as others including one eight-year-old who had asked for a new wheelchair as he suffers from cerebral palsy. 

One young fan with ambitions to become a professional footballer sent the footy-mad lightweight champ a request to help him get a trial with Spanish giants Barcelona.

While Khabib – who is a big fan of Barca rivals Real Madrid – said he couldn’t grant that particular wish, he vowed to take the youngster with him when he visits the Real Madrid versus Ajax Champions League match in March, also inviting the fan to join him when he meets Los Blancos players at a training session.  

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Khabib himself will be aiming to build on the spectacular year he enjoyed in 2018, as he emerged from the MMA world to gain broader global fame.  

That began when he clinched the UFC lightweight belt in April, before defending it in dominant fashion against Irish megastar Conor McGregor in Las Vegas in October.

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While Nurmagomedov is still awaiting punishment from the Nevada State Athletic Commission over the brawl that broke out after the fight, he will hope for an equally impressive return to the Octagon in 2019 – fulfilling some young fans’ dreams along the way.