CRISTIANO RONALDO could have become a UFC champion if he was born in Dagestan, according to Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Dagestan has become a hotbed for mixed martial arts over the last decade, with a flurry of fighters from the region entering promotions across the globe.
Nurmagomedov's late father, Abdulmanap, was largely responsible for the growth of fighters from the region.
And the Russian reckons Ronaldo would've become a champion fighter if he'd been birthed in the North Caucasus.
Alongside a picture of himself at the Nou Camp during Paris Saint-Germain's demolition of Barcelona, Nurmagomedov wrote: "I've loved football since my childhood and always dreamed of becoming a footballer.
"But I was born in Dagestan and you know yourselves, what the priority is.
"Who knows, maybe if Cristiano Ronaldo was born in Dagestan, he would have also become a UFC champion.
"I want to say that football is sport and I became a fighter by accident. I'm joking, not by accident.
"I will tell you sometime, about my own obsession with football in childhood and how sitting in class in 6th grade I wrote in my notebook 200 football names (there was no internet back then).
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"I was pleased to be at this legendary stadium and see in real life such a battle."
Nurmagomedov, who announced his retirement from MMA last October, still has ambitions of playing football professionally.
He told Match TV: “To play football on a professional level is a childhood dream. Of course, I have such a wish. Football is the king of sports after all.
“Who haven’t I discussed this with! I’ve spoken even with the UEFA president Aleskandr Ceferin, with the owner of PSG, yes and even with Cristiano Ronaldo."
He added: "My dream club is Real Madrid. In fact the first match I remember watching the full 90 minutes, was Real vs Juventus in 1998 [Champions League final].
"I remember Mijatovic scored from an offside position, but we still won."
Last year, The Eagle revealed he prefers football to MMA, telling UFC Russia: "For me, football is the number one sport.
"When I was a child, I dreamed of being a football player and I have always watched football.
"In a way, football is better [than mixed martial arts], you don't have to fight or smash somebody – you just go onto grass and show everyone what you are capable of doing professionally.
"Of course, it is hard but I like it more, more than UFC, more than MMA."
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