UFC featherweight champion Ilia Topuria recently had the privilege of meeting Lionel Messi during a visit to Florida to watch an MLS clash between Inter Miami and the Colorado Rapids. Topuria, known for his upcoming fight at Santiago Bernabeu, expressed his admiration for Messi, stating, “I have always admired him since I was young. Messi has been one of the people who have inspired me a lot. The humility he transmits and how legendary he is, it makes him even greater. His personality has surprised me even more in person. It was a source of pride for me.”

Topuria, who received a prized No.10 shirt from Messi during their meeting, had previously encountered Real Madrid stars such as Jude Bellingham and David Alaba. His encounter with Messi left him pleasantly “surprised” by the Argentine legend's down-to-earth nature.

The meeting between Topuria and Messi underscores Inter Miami's global appeal and influence, bridging the worlds of mixed martial arts and soccer. As both athletes operate in vastly different sporting arenas, their mutual respect highlights the transcendent power of sports to unite individuals from diverse backgrounds.

Meanwhile, Messi continues to shine in MLS, with his star power attracting A-list guests to Inter Miami matches across the United States. As Messi aims to add to his trophy collection in Miami, his impact on and off the pitch remains undeniable, leaving a lasting impression on admirers like Ilia Topuria.

Topuria's experience with Messi is a testament to the Inter Miami man's enduring legacy and his profound effect on those who meet him. Beyond his extraordinary footballing talents, Messi's humility and approachability resonate with fans and fellow athletes alike, reinforcing his status as a sporting icon both on and off the field.

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