“I don’t fight for the money. I fight for my legacy. I fight for history. I fight for my people.” Khabib "The Eagle" Nurmagomedov, Dagestani UFC Lightweight Champion of the World and first Muslim to win a UFC Title
It's no secret when I say this. When we see those few among us who have strived to obtain their dreams through virtuous and honorable means, we can only have great respect for them. Some of us have so much respect for these people that they aspire to be like them in every way possible. This is what the Dreamer's mindset should be.
True Dreamers, those who chase their dreams ultimately for the cultivation of a better world through virtuous action, are indeed hard to find.
But they are still here.
People like Khabib Nurmagomedov are here, fitting the criteria of a great role model for Dreamers like ourselves to learn from.
Many people think that the true essence of obtaining one's dream is for material means, such as a large bank account, luxury cars, and great mansions. Although that is what may happen due to dedication and hard work towards a dream, it is not the true reason why a Dreamer should set out in the world on this path to greatness.
A great example and role model that we can learn this from is Khabib Nurmagomedov.
From a young age, Khabib Abdulmanapovich Nurmagomedov was interested in martial arts and wrestling. In fact, when he turned 8, his father Abdulmanap became his coach, watching him rise from local tournaments to the UFC. Just to show you what sort of guy Khabib was, it is said that he wrestled bears at the tender age of 9!
When he was 20, he began his UFC career, winning his first 4 matches in the Octagon easily in the span of one month. Years go by, and as he rises in prominence, Connor McGregor challenges him to the UFC Lightweight title in 2019. What preluded their fight though, is where Khabib's character became very noteworthy.
Everyone who knows Khabib personally agrees that he is the most dedicated and disciplined individual they know. Khabib always credits this sheer stoic character to his religion, Islam. Whenever he is interviewed on his religious stances, he will always dive deep into the fact that he doesn't let the money, luxury, and huge world following cloud his mind. Rather, he will always mention how these things aren't important in the long run, and that he seeks to meet God in the best way possible. In one of these interviews, he is quoted to have said in regards to his responsibility as being a role model for Muslims and the rest of the world that, "... with or without us (himself and Mohamad Salah) God will still do his job perfectly." Khabib didn't credit anything to himself as many celebrities do. Rather, he credits all the good he has done to a higher power; his faith.
Thus, meeting someone like McGregor, known to be a loudmouth, would surely catch the attention of the world.
During each press conference preluding the match, McGregor would boast about his luxury, cockiness, wealth, and extreme self-indulgence. He'd call Khabib a "little rat" and "little weasel". Sometimes he would even go as far as directly mocking Khabib's faith. He would purposefully bring a bottle of wine and offer it to Khabib, knowing that drinking wine or any form of alcohol is forbidden in Islam.
Thus, after each mockery, bullying, nasty and inappropriate comment from McGregor, Khabib with his humble stoic mindset choose to shrug them off. If you go watch some of the press conferences, you'll see how crazy McGregor was, and how calm and collected Khabib was.
See, McGregor is the type of individual who is motivated by sheer self-indulgence and arrogance. It is necessary to say that while each and every Dreamer out there must be confident in their abilities, true greatness is staying calm, collected, and showing humbleness. While McGregor would say, "I believe in myself so much that no one can ever stop me." Khabib says "When God is with you, no one can beat you. You have to believe this."
On the night of the fight in Las Vegas, millions were watching all over the world, excited to see which personality would win, each a polar opposite of the other.
To sum it up, Khabib "The Eagle" Nurmagomedov beat McGregor in the 4th round by submission. The one who dedicated his victories to something higher than himself beat the one who dedicated his victories to himself only.
After the fight, Khabib said "I am grateful to God. Without God, I cannot do anything."
When we acknowledge someone as a true role model, we do so because of their character, and how they inspire us to be what we all know to be true and righteous. Unfortunately, there are not that many "Khabibs" in the world we live in, but they still exist. Majority of the world's "role models" aren't role models at all. They are people plagued by the addiction of luxury, fame, and profanity.
Unfortunately, we see many materially successful people plagued by this notion. Various rappers, world leaders, actors, actresses CEO's, and social media influencers have nothing inside them but the desire of material things. We see this right in front of our eyes every single day.
Let me make this clear though. I am not bashing every successful individual in the world. Each and every one of them are where they are now due to their hard work and perseverance, and I applaud them for it. We can learn much from their impressive work ethic.
But what they are motivated by is the issue.
Profanity, excessive luxury, and extreme levels of self-delusional pride are what they are motivated by, and McGregor was a perfect example. Khabib on the other hand is different. His motivation was his faith and being able to inspire the world to be better. That is why he is great. That's why, when he retired last week after his last UFC fight, being the undefeated UFC Lightweight Champion of the World, everyone respected him and is inevitably inspired by him.
Understand that true greatness is working for something greater than yourself. Once you understand this, everything will come to you. Fame, success, money, and everything you want will be right in front of you. But, like Khabib Nurmaogomedov, stay close to that higher source of power; that thing that is greater than yourself (It can be anything you choose). Make sure that materialistic motivation doesn't plague your heart, and you shall be a true inspiration and light for the world.
"Climb the mountain so you can see the world, not so the world can see you." - Khabib Nurmagomedov