UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has landed in the Turkish capital of Istanbul in advance of Tuesday night's UEFA Champions League Group A fixture between Galatasaray and Real Madrid on Tuesday.
Nurmagomedov's business in Istanbul remains unclear but it is thought that he may attend the Champions League fixture between Turkish Super Lig champions Galatasaray and the team he supports, Spanish 13-time winners Real Madrid, in a crucial fixture.
Both teams have endured a rocky start to their Champions League campaign, having secured just one point from a possible six from their first two games and, should he attend, fans of Los Blancos will hope that some of the undefeated champion's winning streak will run off on Zinedine Zidane's side, as Galatasaray prepare to welcome the 'La Liga' side 'to Hell'.
Khabib however might have split loyalties going into the game. Although he is an ardent fan of his beloved Real, having even been presented with a jersey from Cristiano Ronaldo during his tenure at the Bernabeu, the Russian has been photographed on more than one occasion wearing a Galatasaray shirt in childhood and also on previous trips to Turkey.
After arriving in Istanbul, Nurmagomedov took in a meeting with famed chef Burak Özdemir, or CZN Burak, owner and proprietor of Hatay Medeniyetler Sofrasi Aksaray, a restaurant famous for the unconventional methods it employs to cook food.
"During my weightcut I browse his page constantly," Khabib wrote on Instagram. "It was very delicious and fun, thank you brother."
Khabib, who speaks Turkish, also visited the country last year where he received an audience with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as part of a media tour following his submission victory against Conor McGregor at UFC 229 a little over a year ago.
The Eagle was set to land at a Galatasaray match almost exactly a year ago for the team's 0-0 draw with Schalke in last year's Champions League on October 24, just a fortnight after his win over the Irishman.
A keen football supporter, Nurmagomedov attended the Champions League tie between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain only to see his team suffer a 3-0 reverse to the French champions.Also on rt.com Bumping into Beckham: UFC champ Khabib meets England legend at PSG-Real Champions League game