UFC icon Khabib Nurmagomedov showed he can still pull off a game face by staring off against Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba and Rio Ferdinand during his trip to watch Manchester United play.
The MMA legend, who retired from the sport last year, was a special guest of the Premier League club for their game against Everton last weekend and had the chance to chat with several Red Devils players and club legends.
Khabib posted several images of him and close friend Ronaldo together on Instagram on Tuesday afternoon, before showing video footage of him squaring up to the three United icons – just like he used to do in pre-fight UFC press conferences.
Khabib Nurmagomedov (left) squared up to Cristiano Ronaldo (right) in his trip to watch Manchester United play
Khabib was a guest at Old Trafford for the Premier League clash with Everton last week
The Dagestani captioned the post: ‘He is a best ever, keep doing your things Champ, you inspire millions of people around the World @cristiano.’
Khabib revealed he enjoyed spending time with both Ronaldo and Pogba and admitted he found it fascinating to hear about how they prepare before Premier League matches.
Before United’s clash with Everton, Khabib told MUTV: ‘(On Friday) we talked a little bit about today’s match. They said they were going to be on the bench but in the second half they are going to come in.
Khabib (left) spent time with Ronaldo (right) during the weekend trip to Old Trafford
Khabib also spent time with United and France international midfielder Paul Pogba (right)
‘Pogba (is) a world champion, Cristiano is a legend, how many times has he won the Champions League (again)? It was an honour to talk with them before the match.
‘It was very interesting for me (to see) like how they are feeling and what energy they are doing before the match, the night before the match. Because I am an athlete too and I have this feeling and it was very interesting to see how football players are feeling.’
Khabib confirmed during his weekend trip to Manchester that he is not especially a United fan, but is instead a supporter of ‘all football’.
The Dagestani UFC icon also squared up to Rio Ferdinand (right) during his Manchester trip
His Old Trafford trip also saw him spend time with legendary United manager Sir Alex Ferguson in an executive box, while he also spoke with fellow Red Devils fan Usain Bolt and club legend Patrice Evra.
The 33-year-old revealed he turned down the chance to have a glass of wine with legendary coach Ferguson – with Khabib a devout Muslim and therefore tee-total – before joking a drink could make him ‘smash’ the former United boss, Bolt and Evra.
‘I had to explain to him [Ferguson],’ Khabib said, as quoted by RT. ‘There are two things: you can be straight [with him] and say “no, no, no – I am Muslim, I never drink.”
‘But I also told him, “This is not good because if I drink, I can smash all of you guys. It’s not a good idea.”
Khabib (right) was seen in United’s executive box with Sir Alex Ferguson, Usain Bolt and Patrice Evra (left to second right) for the Everton game
‘Patrice Evra and Usain Bolt understand. Alex Ferguson asked me about wine. For him, it’s good – I don’t judge him.
‘[Ferguson] understands because he doesn’t think I should smash everybody, so he said, “OK, don’t drink”.’
The UFC legend’s friendship with Ronaldo brought him to Old Trafford and he e was pictured holding a United shirt with ‘Khabib – 7’ on the back over the weekend. His friendship with the Portugal star goes back to Ronaldo’s days at Madrid.
The 33-year-old’s friendship with Ronaldo goes to the Portugal star’s days at Real Madrid
They posed together for a picture when Ronaldo was still in Spain, with Khabib again holding a Los Blancos shirt, with the Portuguese’s name and No 7 on the back. He admitted earlier this year that the two ‘speak almost every day’.
Following confirmation of Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford after 12 years away, Khabib revealed that he had known about the move a month before.
‘A month ago, he told me that he was moving to Manchester United,’ Nurmagomedov told reporters at the New Knowledge Marathon in Moscow.
‘I expected this deal to take place. I think that Manchester United is more suitable for him than Juventus. For me, the transition was not a surprise.’