• Former UFC champ Khabib Nurmagomedov once wore a controversial shirt during a weigh-in in Brazil
  • Nurmagomedov's childhood friend Eldar Eldarov reveals the true story behind the said shirt
  • Eldarov is also an MMA champion and is set to defend his title at BRAVE CF 46

Khabib Nurmagomedov has had a superb team behind him throughout his career, and one of them is looking to prolong his reign as a world champion.

Back in 2013, Brazilian mixed martial arts fans were enraged about Nurmagomedov’s infamous ''If Sambo was easy, it would be called Jiu-Jitsu'' shirt.

It can be recalled that the undefeated fighter wore a black shirt with the said phrase printed on it during his weigh-in and face-off with Thiago Tavares in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

The taunting message of the then-UFC contender’s shirt got the social media buzzing but in actuality, it was his childhood friend Eldar Eldarov who came up with the idea.

Many may have not heard about Eldarov, but like Nurmagomedov, he is also a world champion and is set to defend his super lightweight title against Leonardo Mafra at BRAVE CF 46.

Reflecting on the controversial Nurmagomedov shirt ahead of the fight, Eldarov revealed that it all started when he saw the phrase printed on someone’s shirt during a judo training session.

"The person who put this phrase on the t-shirt was me,” Eldarov said in a press release by BRAVE CF. “I got the idea for the phrase when I went for judo training and saw someone wearing a t-shirt with the phrase 'If Judo was easy, it would be called football'. I was set to go to Brazil to corner Khabib at the time. So I bought a black t-shirt and printed the phrase on it. He wore it at the weigh-ins.”

While Eldarov had the shirt made just to have a little fun during Nurmagomedov’s weigh-in, fans did not appreciate it and both he and “The Eagle” even received “death threats” because of it.

"As soon as we got back to the hotel and turned on the wi-fi, we were bombarded with messages from people talking about the t-shirt,” he revealed. “It became very controversial, some people even went to the extent of giving death threats. It wasn't intended to be offensive, it was just a joke. At the end of the day, we respect all sports.”

Now, Eldarov is in the position where Nurmagomedov was in 2013 as he is bound to face a Brazilian fighter in Mafra.

The bout between the two super lightweights is set to take place in Sochi, Russia on January 16th as part of BRAVE CF’s first venture in the country.

Nurmagomedov, meanwhile, will have a private meeting with UFC president Dana White. The company head honcho will try to convince the Russian step inside the Octagon once again.

"I think he should fight again and I'm gonna press him as hard as I can for one more," White told ESPN's Brett Okamoto of Nurmagomedov.

Khabib Nurmagomedov
Khabib Nurmagomedov will put his lightweight title and unbeaten record on the line against Conor McGregor. In this picture, Nurmagomedov celebrates his win over Al Iaquinta (not shown) to capture the UFC lightweight championship at UFC 223 at Barclays Center in New York City on April 7, 2018. Ed Mulholland/Getty Images