Shavkat Rahkmonov explains the origins of his traditional wolf-skin headdress

Shavkat Rahkmonov is the first Kazakhstani citizen to be signed to the UFC, and as such, he’s proud to represent his country, from his performances down to his headwear.

Rahkmonov recently recorded his third win inside the UFC when he knocked out Carlston Harris with a spinning hook kick and follow up ground-and-pound. After the win, Rahkmonov donned his usual wolf-skin hat for his post-fight interview, and with “Nomad” seemingly set to be a fixture in the UFC welterweight division moving forwards, it’s time we learned more about Rahkmonov’s unique headgear.

“It’s a traditional Kazakh headdress that our ancestors used to wear during the wintertimes to keep themselves warm,” Rahkmonov explained on The MMA Hour. “Myself, I feel like it’s a very beautiful headdress, and wearing it, I get to represent my roots, represent my culture and tradition. Traditionally this headdress is usually made up out of a wolf or fox skin.

“When I was getting ready for my UFC debut, I got it as a gift. I got the national flag and this headdress. I wanted to buy it myself, but then when people found out that I wanted to walk out with the headdress, they gave me it as a gift.”

The headdress immediately evokes memories of former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s distinctive Papakha, and if Rahkmonov continues on like he’s been, his headdress may become similarly iconic.

The 27-year old Kazakh fighter is now 15-0 in his MMA career, with all of his wins coming by way of stoppage, and his 3-0 run in the UFC has catapulted the former M-1 welterweight champion into the top 15 of the UFC rankings. Every time he competes, Rahkmonov is breaking new ground for Kazakh fighters, and it’s a role he’s proud to carry on.

“I’m happy to be the first Kazakhstani fighter to sign with the UFC,” Rahkmonov said. “I’m also happy to one of the first [Kazakhstani] male fighters to get a win in the UFC, and I’m also the first fighter to crack the top-15 from Kazakhstan. So I really take pride in that and I’m happy that I can make my team and my countrymen proud.”