The world of mixed martial arts is as vast as it gets, and as the sport popularized in the past several decades, innumerable promotions that have come to existence. But, one of them that has left all the others behind is the UFC, which has been soaring and soaring above the rest and keeps on climbing the ladder of prominence.
The UFC is reigning as the top drawer in MMA right now, but there’s a new kid on the block – Eagle Fighting Championship. If it was like just another name within the abundance of MMA promotions that are popping up in recent times- many fans wouldn’t even bat an eye, let alone consider it becoming something big in the future.
However, what sets Eagle FC apart from the rest, is for the just one fact that its being led by none other than Khabib Nurmagomedov. The promotion may be new, but with the former undefeated UFC Lightweight Champion- whom many consider to be the “G.O.A.T” (Greatest Of All Time) in MMA, himself envisioning his nascent promotion to be the potential successor to the UFC, and to the reverie of many- the number one MMA promotion in the future, the argument gets even stronger.
But in reality, just how much potential does Eagle FC have to surpass the UFC and what paths do Khabib need to venture into to make his vision into a reality?
The history that starts from the Russian city of Samara
What is now Eagle Fighting Championship, traces its origin back to the city of Samara in Russia. Originating in 2017, it was primarily named as “Federation of MMA of Samara” and parallel to the rising fame of the sport in the country, expanded into the region of Dagestan. It had originally held 10 events, before it was taken over by its new owners and was renamed into “Gorilla Fighting Championship”.
In its new avatar, Gorilla FC indulged into the betterment of event planning and media production, as well as improving the quality and quantity of its growing roster. With its rising popularity, the promotion’s area of reach expanded beyond the Russian borders- into Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and hosted a total of 20 events, until 2020 came and the world was forced into a halt by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While Gorilla FC was heading into certain bankruptcy, the world saw a fitting conclusion to one of the greatest sagas in MMA- Khabib Nurmagomedov announcing his retirement in October 2020 and a month later, came as the saviour of his native MMA promotion, becoming its new owner and renaming it to honour the nickname “The Eagle”.
What worked for the UFC and how Eagle FC can adapt
Looking back at the huge success of the UFC, not only Dana White arranged his promotion’s roster with the best of the best fighters from all corners of the world, but also how the impeccable way the promotion sells its fights, and the blood-boiling pre-fight press conferences that get the fans on the edge of their seats. The excitement that MMA events bring, are even more amplified by the opportunities to bet on the fighters and for that,10bet review is the idea place to visit.
While the UFC has had its posterboys from the days of Chuck Liddell to Jon Jones and the never-ending fame of Conor McGregor, its Dana White who remains the company’s face and personality. Under its new name, Eagle FC has one massive advantage in that regard- Khabib Nurmagomedov himself.
The Lightweight GOAT already has a gargantuan fan following all over the world and now as the boss of his own MMA promotion, will probably never lack the popularity that is needed to solidify its presence. However, marketability and the notion of “Sports Entertainment” are sells like hot cakes these days, as well as the charismatic persona that Dana White, or boxing promoters such as Bob Arum or Eddie Hearn exude. While Khabib may not be the master on the mic, he has found success in marketing Eagle FC fights through his massive social media space, which is expected to continue working in the promotion’s favour.
The promotion has been slowly but steadily building a star studded roster- featuring many familiar faces from the UFC camp such as former champions, title challengers and fighters- Junior dos Santos, Kevin Lee, Rashad Evans, Ray Borg, Renan Barão, Antônio Silva, as well as Khabib’s cousins Umar Nurmagomedov and Usman Nurmagomedov. More established and fresh talents are expected to join the roster in the coming years.
While Eagle FC has been organizing events in the Soviet regions, it already has stepped foot on the US soil- with Eagle FC 44 and its most recent event- Eagle FC 47, both in Miami. Aiming to become a global MMA promotion- with regular events in both the Western and Eastern hemispheres is also a vital aspect for the company to look into.
“The Eagle” expects “Eagle FC” to fly to the summit in the next five to seven years. So far what they have accomplished, its safe to say that Eagle FC is heading into the right path and we can expect to see bigger fights and a more engaging fan following. All that being said, the MMA environment is changing and new hurdles will come along its path as well, with many other popular MMA promotions expected to give Eagle FC a run for their money, before they can lock horns against the reigning monarch of them all-the UFC.