Khabib Nurmagomedov has hailed Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah as an inspiration.
The UFC lightweight champion has been celebrating his victory over Conor McGregor earlier this month.
And on a visit to Abu Dhabi, the Russian hailed Salah who has become the focal point of Liverpool’s attack.
"I never met him before but I follow him, he is a great player and we need more people like him to reflect our ethics and present us properly to the rest of the world," Nurmagomedov told the Al Ittihad newspaper.
"He made a name of himself because he is disciplined. I feel that Allah is by his side. The new generations need those who are like Mohamed Salah to learn more about how you can be modest, no matter how famous and innovative you are.
"He’s an icon that we should take care of and help reach more success. I admire him and admire the ethics he is spreading every day in Europe."
Nurmagomedov has been clocking up the airmiles since his win over McGregor and also recently met Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The champion wants to fight Floyd Mayweather in a boxing ring – but his hopes have been dashed by UFC president Dana White.
"If Mayweather wants to fight, come fight, come to the UFC," he told TMZ.
"We’re not boxing again, we did that once, that’s over. You wanna fight, you come fight… a real fight."
Nurmagomedov is more likely to defend his title against Tony Ferguson, once the Nevada State Athletic Commission have ruled on the post-fight riot at UFC 229.
White added: "Tony Ferguson is the right fight, he didn’t lose the belt in a fight so it’s the right fight.
"It’s the fight to make, we’ll see how this whole thing plays out, it all depends on the suspension."
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