Khabib Nurmagomedov is without a doubt one of the best grapplers in MMA history. That said, with his unique fighting style many people are confused about what kind of grappling Khabib does.
Khabibs grappling style is a mix of Sambo, Judo, and wrestling. In fact, Khabib is a master of Sambo and a judo black belt. So Khabib’s grappling style is a hybrid of multiple disciplines.
One thing many people find surprising is that Khabib does not come from a BJJ background even though his submissions are some of the best in MMA. Of course, for a more experienced grappler, they might not find this as surprising.
After all, both Sambo and judo have excellent submissions. In fact, most of the submissions found in BJJ came from judo originally.
Khabibs Unique Grappling Style ( Includes Wrestling Bears )
In case you were wondering yes that is Khabib wrestling a bear as a young child. Growing up in Dagestan wrestling was part of Khabibs life from an early age. In fact, this is common for many young men growing up in Dagestan.
However, Khabib had a little more personal relationship with the grappling culture of Dagestan. This is because Khabibs father converted a building into a wrestling gym and was a local grappling coach.
Khabibs father like Khabib started wrestling at a very early age. Afterward, he also picked up judo and then learned Russian sambo in the military. Khabib followed suit and began his grappling with wrestling before picking up Judo.
Khabib Has Trained In Judo Since He Was 15
Though Khabib started wrestling as young as 8 years old ( though I’m sure he wrestled less formally before that) he didn’t start training in judo until he was about 15 years old. Many people actually do not know that judo might be the grappling style Khabib respects the most.
In fact, he once stated that Olympic judo was the highest level of grappling competition. Transitioning from wrestling to judo was not easy for Khabib. However, it was important to his father that he also knew how to grapple in a judogi.
It actually comes as a surprise to some people that Khabib is a Judo black belt. However, this does not surprise people who practice judo. After all, Khabib uses judo quite a bit in MMA. Some of his slickest throws are judo throws.
One Of Khabib’s Grappling Styles Is Russian Sambo
It is probably not too surprising that Khabib trains in Russian sambo. In fact, Khabibs father was the Senior Combat Sambo Coach for the National Team of the Republic of Dagestan. So no surprise that Khabib picked this grappling and combat style as well.
Sambo is among the most modern grappling styles, with a history dating to 1920’s Russian combat. It combines the stylings of Catch Wrestling, Jujitsu, Judo, and a variety of others to create a form of self-defense.
Combat sambo is like the grappling style of judo but used more in the military and as a fighting sport. Combat sambo utilizes all the stylings of classical sambo with the addition of dangerous moves not allowed in pure grappling sambo.
In addition to regular holds and throws, combat sambo utilized punches, chokes, and strikes that would be illegal in regulation sport sambo. While sport sambo most closely resembles judo or jujitsu, a combat sambo match may at first appear to be MMA to an untrained eye.
So naturally a transition from combat sambo to MMA is came pretty easily to Khabib.
Khabib Is Not A Fan Of All Grappling Styles
I don’t know how much Khabib really does not like BJJ or how much is purely to get a rise out of his opponents. That said, he has taken some jabs at BJJ even wearing a shirt that said if Sambo was easy it would be called BJJ.
This of course upset many BJJ and MMA fans. After all, BJJ has been a staple of MMA since the early days of the UFC. That said, ( and I am a BJJ practitioner ) Khabib has proven that you do not need BJJ to become one of the best fighters in MMA history.
In fact, he is one of the best grapplers in MMA history. As long as you practice grappling styles that include takedowns, throws, pins, and submissions you don’t have to train BJJ to dominate in MMA.
Khabib Has The Best Grappling Style For MMA
Khabib has the perfect grappling style for MMA. After all, wrestling is king in MMA and is also the grappling style Khabib has trained in the longest. On top of that, he has amazing throws from judo that many fighters do not know how to deal with.
Combine that with Combat Sambo which has amazing submissions as well as strikes and you are ready for your MMA career. That said, what really makes Khabibs grappling style so effective is ability to have full control of his opponents.
And then, of course, he will Smesh them. His ability to control and ground and pound some of the best grapplers in the world is truly amazing. So if you wanna grapple like Khabib then you might wanna check out wrestling, judo, and sambo.
Learn To Grapple Like Khabib Nurmagomedov
Though Khabib does not have a ton of content to learn from online, he does have his famous instructional Sambo: The Top Game – A Blue Print For “Smeshing” By Khabib Nurmagomedov. ( Affiliate Link)
In this instructional Khabib shows you how he uses his unique grappling style to dominate his opponents in MMA. His top heavy grappling coupled with his Smeshing is a winning recipe for anyone looking to improve their grappling for MMA.