Khabib Nurmagomedov has defeated all challengers 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 (see below) 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.RELATED: Khabib’s Father Says UFC Champion Wants Rematch with Conor McGregor on Russian Soil in 2020

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.

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