Khabib tops Forbes Russia list ahead of pop princess & ice hockey great Ovechkin
MMA star Nurmagomedov, 30, edged out TV personality-turned-pop princess Olga Buzova and ice hockey great Alexander Ovechkin to head the list, which is based on an overall score combining income and media presence.
The undefeated fighter from Dagestan raked in an estimated income of $11.5 million, in addition to having around 75,000 mentions in the media and more than 1.5 million on social media.
That earned him an overall score of 73.18 compared to TV celebrity-come-pop star Buzova’s tally of 72.14.
Buzova, 33, is a ubiquitous presence in various guises on Russian TV screens and has amassed an Instagram following of over 16 million.
She has brought in $4.4 million in income and featured in around 73,000 mentions in the press – along with a whopping 4.4 million on social media.
Third on the list – which was published on the Forbes Russian website on Thursday – was hockey great Ovechkin, a familiar face in his homeland and the US.
The 33-year-old has been with NHL's the Washington Capitals since 2005, captaining the team to their first ever Stanley Cup title in 2018.
Ovechkin’s vital statistics were $14.5 million in income and around 60,000 media mentions and 560,000 on social media.
The only other Russian sporting figure to make the top 10 was footballer Artem Dzyuba, one of Russia’s World Cup heroes last summer.
The national team skipper and Zenit St. Petersburg forward was in ninth on $5.4 million in income, around 78,000 mentions in the media and 1.35 million on social media.
Russian tennis ace Maria Sharapova’s decline from the limelight in recent years was reflected in her 11th spot in the rankings, with $8.5 million in income but far less media attention.
Elsewhere, figure skating starlets Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva placed 33rd and 40th respectively.
Nurmagomedov’s rise has been nothing short of meteoric since he defeated Irish megastar Conor McGregor in Las Vegas last year.
Previously seeing his fame mainly confined to MMA circles and his local Dagestan, Nurmagomedov is now a bona fide global star who is held up as a Muslim sporting icon and hero across his homeland.
He is followed by 15.4 million people on Instagram and has signed lucrative sponsorship deals with the likes of energy drink Gorilla and car manufacturer Toyota.
Following his victory over McGregor, he embarked on a world tour that saw him meet thousands of fans as well as world leaders.
Nurmagomedov is currently preparing for his next bout, which takes place at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi on September 7, where he meets interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier.Also on rt.com 'Abu Dhabi is no place for show-offs': Khabib sends McGregor warning about attending UFC 242