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5 Oct, 2019 17:49

‘I’d be lying if I said I don't care’: Khabib on battle with pop princess Buzova to be Russia's undisputed Instagram no.1

‘I’d be lying if I said I don't care’: Khabib on battle with pop princess Buzova to be Russia's undisputed Instagram no.1

Khabib Nurmagomedov has seen off all comers during his pro MMA career but the UFC lightweight champ has spoken about a different kind of battle he's faced – rising to the top of the rankings as Russia’s biggest Instagram star.

Nurmagomedov is his country’s most popular presence on the social media platform, amassing a whopping 17.3 million followers.

He leads the way ahead of Russian reality TV personality-turned-pop star Olga Buzova, 33, who currently has around 1 million followers fewer than the MMA megastar.

But Khabib's top billing has only come about recently, after he surged ahead in the wake of his victory over Dustin Poirier in their title unifier at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi in September.

Speaking on Saturday at the Synergy Global Forum in St. Petersburg, Khabib admitted he "would be lying" if he said his status as Russia's Instagram ruler meant nothing to him.

“After my fight [with Poirier], I didn’t even know how many people followed me, how many followed her, that there was some kind of competition.

“But it’s always nice when you are first. It doesn’t matter if it’s Instagram, in fights, in business. I think men will understand me, and women as well. If I’m not mistaken, I think women aim to be first even more than men,” the fighter said.

Also on rt.com Khabib’s UFC 242 victory viewed 26 million times in Russia as homeland stardom hits new heights

The Instagram output of undefeated Dagestani destroyer Khabib and St. Petersburg-born popstress Buzova could barely be more different.

The UFC lightweight champ’s steady stream of output often focuses on training, meetings with friends and fellow fighters, sponsorship notices and the occasional religious message.

Buzova, meanwhile, typically posts footage of scantily-clad stage performances as well as holiday snaps from her jaunts around the world.

The pair’s unlikely rivalry also came into focus in a list published by Forbes this year, in which Khabib was named Russia’s ‘most successful person’ under the age of 40 – also beating Buzova into second place.

Also on rt.com Khabib tops Forbes Russia list ahead of pop princess & ice hockey great Ovechkin

At the same event on Saturday, Khabib also spoke about the possiblity of a blockbuster rematch with Conor McGregor, potentially in Russia.

The Dagestani fighter did not dismiss the prospect, saying it made financial sense for the pair to meet again in a bout Khabib said would smash the UFC crowd record. 

Also on rt.com Khabib vs McGregor 2: UFC lightweight champ says Russian rematch makes financial sense, would be record-breaker