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- Khabib Nurmagomedov nearly jumped on Leonardo DiCaprio at UFC 229, the actor reportedly told the Russian fighter.
- Nurmagomedov lept from the cage towards the entourage of his opponent Conor McGregor after taking victory, inciting a massive post-match brawl.
- In an interview with Russian channel Match TV, Nurmagomedov said that the actor told him he was seated just a few meters away from where he landed.
- The pair met in Paris after watching PSG play soccer.
- DiCaprio then invited Nurmagomedov for dinner where he surprised the fighter by not taking photos with fans.
In an interview with Russian channel Match TV, Nurmagomedov said he and DiCaprio watched PSG play soccer amongst a cluster of celebrities in November last year.
"Honestly, I didn’t recognize them, apart from Leonardo DiCaprio… He’s a big fan [of MMA]," Nurmagomedov told Match TV, according to the state-funded news channel RT.
"He told me, ‘I was sitting 5 meters away [when you jumped the cage at UFC 229], you nearly landed on me!’"
Nurmagomedov’s momentous victory over Irishman Conor McGregor at UFC 229 was marred by a massive post-match brawl, which erupted after the Russian lept out of the cage and into the stands towards his opponent’s entourage.
Both fighters have since copped fines and fighting bans from the Nevada State Athletic Commission for their roles in the melee, though Nurmagomedov was punished more than McGregor.
After meeting DiCaprio in Paris, Nurmagomedov said the actor invited him out for dinner.
"It was interesting for me how he would sit there [amid so many people]," Nurmagomedov said.
"He’s a regular guy, but it was surprising to me, when people came up to him for a photo, he said ‘I don’t take photos.’ I asked why, and he said it’s not possible to make everyone happy.
"He said he only takes photos with kids… with everyone else, it’s not possible. That surprised me, but in general, he’s a regular guy."
Nurmagomedov later captioned an Instagram post with DiCaprio: "He knows about UFC more than me."
In the wide-ranging interview with Match TV, the fighter also spoke about meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin who called him straight after the fight to congratulate him.
"I was more surprised when called me right after the fight… I was pleasantly surprised," he said.
"It’s nice, you know, when the head of state phones you and praises you for your efforts… Especially when I was sitting in the locker room, surrounded by security staff who were protecting me from 20,000 unhappy fans.
"And at that moment Vladimir Vladimirovich phoned me. It was really nice to hear his speech, how he praised me and said that the country was proud and was waiting to welcome me home."
Nurmagomedov will serve a nine-month fighting ban that could be reduced to six should he create an anti-bullying public service announcement.
It’s unclear who he’ll take on next once that ban is lifted, though he has expressed particular interest in fighting undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather.
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Source: Business Insider