Khabib Nurmagomedov on Saturday stretched his unbeaten record in the UFC to 28-0, after he stopped Dustin Poirier by submission in the third round at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island, to retain his lightweight title.
Khabib Nurmagomedov after dominating Poirier in wrestling and grappling throughout the fight landed a rear-naked choke and forced Poirier to tap midway through the third.
The Dagestan-born Russian fighter returned almost flawlessly for his first fight since beating Conor McGregor back in October 2018.
Nurmagomedov has stopped three of his last five opponents by submission, and he is challenging Jon Jones and Amanda Nunes for unofficial pound-for-pound supremacy in mixed martial arts (MMA).
“MMA is about respect, this is what we showed tonight,” Nurmagomedov said.
Nurmagomedov felt disrespected by McGregor and the Irish star’s friends before their bout, leading to him jumping into the crowd to brawl with the entourage after his victory last year.
Nurmagomedov was suspended and fined by the Nevada Athletic Commission and Poirier won an interim lightweight title during Nurmagomedov’s forced absence.
“There has been a lot of pressure on me recently,” Nurmagomedov said. “I now need a couple of days’ rest.”
On his part, Poirier said this about his defeat:
“I feel like I let myself down,” Poirier said. “My career was set up for this moment. I was so prepared. I didn’t cut any corners. When I wake up, I need to take a look in the mirror” he said.
Nurmagomedov who is now the number and bankable fighter in UFC will now be looking for a rematch come next year, and opponent looking to take him down would have to do a lot more, as this fight and the last one against Mcgregor have shown us what a fighter he is.