KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV picked Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema as his most deserving of the Ballon d'Or award.

Lionel Messi, 34, pipped UFC legend Nurmagomedov's close friend Cristiano Ronaldo, 36, to the prize.

But several believed Bayern Munich's Lewandowski, 33, was hard done by having been overlooked in the competition.

The Pole came second, with Chelsea's Jorginho, 29, third and Real Madrid's Benzema, 33, in fourth.

Football-mad Khabib said: "I would give it to Lewandowski or Benzema. One of them. 

"Lewandowski, I think. Last three years, he is the best football player.

"We can just look at his results. What he does. He has won the Champions League. He has scored more than 120 goals last two years.

"For the national team and club. It is an amazing result.

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"For the entire football history, I cannot remember, we can name a pair of players who scored 120 goals over two years.

"He has 65 goals this year. It is too much. For football I think it is too much. I think he deserves Ballon d'Or."

Nurmagomedov, 33, retired in October 2020, right after beating Justin Gaethje,also 33.

It was his first and only fight without his influential father and coach Abdulmanap, who passed away in July of last year.

Khabib vowed never to continue without his dad and has since retired to focus on coaching.

But rumours circulated that the former UFC champion, who speaks regularly to Manchester United's Ronaldo, was starting a footballing career.

He even received an offer from Russian third tier football side FC Kamaz, which was not taken up.

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