UFC

UFC 242: Khabib Nurmagomedov unifies lightweight title with dominating win over Dustin Poirier

By Sports Desk September 07, 2019

Khabib Nurmagomedov unified the lightweight title at UFC 242 with a rear naked choke in the third round on interim champion Dustin Poirier on Saturday.

Nurmagomedov constantly pressured his opponent throughout the fight while getting through a big blow in the second round to retain his belt against Poirier, who was interim champion.

It was the Russian's first fight since serving a lengthy suspension for his part in the ugly melee that followed his victory over Conor McGregor at UFC 229, but Nurmagomedov did not miss a step.

Nurmagomedov (28-0-0) controlled the fight from the get-go grabbing a takedown approximately one minute and 50 seconds into the fight.

From there, he grabbed two more takedowns, put a vicious neck crank on Poirier (25-6, 1 NC) and landed a vicious elbow to go with some ground-and-pound at the end of the round.

Poirier wobbled Nurmagomedov with a big shot early in round two, but the champion was able to recover and landed a takedown a little more than a minute in.

Nurmagomedov also cut Poirier later on the in the round and that clearly bothered the interim champ down the stretch.

Poirier then was able to grab a guillotine in the third round, but Nurmagomedov fought through it once again and continued to keep the pressure on his opponent.

Nurmagomedov was able to lock up the rear naked choke to end the fight for good.

After another dominant win, it remains to be seen if UFC can finally make the Nurmagomedov versus Tony Ferguson fight with the duo having been tipped to fight for years, but is yet to happen largely due to injuries.

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    Israel Adesanya declared "there is no one like me" and said if he could sing even Justin Bieber would not have a job after dethroning middleweight champion Robert Whittaker in front of a record-breaking Melbourne crowd at UFC 243.

    Interim champion Adesanya scored a stunning second-round knockout at Marvel Stadium, where 57,127 fans were in attendance, to become the undisputed champion in the division.

    Australian Whittaker had already been floored by a huge right hook late in the first round and a stinging left in the second brought an end to the bout.

    Adesanya made a grandstand entrance with a choreographed dance routine and the Nigeria-born New Zealander said his confident arrival was something he had planned to do in the past.

    "I tried to do that in the Anderson Silva fight in February and the UFC were like, 'no, we can't have that'," he said.

    "This fight is my show. I'm headlining this b****, so I was going to do it my way.

    "Who else, on this kind of stage, is going to do that before they go in and whoop some ass? If I could sing, trust me - Justin Bieber wouldn't even have a job." 

    Adesanya had no doubts he would pull off the victory, but confessed the gravitas of his achievement was still sinking in.

    "It feels like I'm still lucid dreaming," added the 30-year-old. "You might see me do weird things, just to see if I'm dreaming.

    "I said it was one my toughest tests, but that I'd make it look easy. I told you guys that.

    "When I saw him walk out, he was too intense. You can't fake that s***, pull the hoodie over your eyes.

    "I can smell it off him, that he wasn't with it. He was doing the right moves, but there was no feeling behind it.

    "I saw everything coming. He hit me a few times, but I just showed that I can take and give it as well."

    Whittaker had won his previous nine fights and vowed to rebound from the setback.

    "Hats off to Adesanya, a great striker," he said. 

    "I felt I was doing pretty well until you get caught. I'm only 28. I've still got a fight or two yet. I'm not going anywhere."

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    Conor McGregor wants a rematch against Khabib Nurmagomedov in Moscow, but the UFC lightweight champion was only thinking about planning his next meal after defeating Dustin Poirier.

    In his first outing since a win against McGregor in October 2018 that was overshadowed by an ugly post-fight brawl, Nurmagomedov moved to 28-0 by submitting Poirier in the third round at UFC 242.

    The Irishman has since claimed to have retired following the loss last year, but he was quick to request another shot at the Russian following Saturday's result in Abu Dhabi.

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    However, UFC president Dana White stated that Tony Ferguson is next in line for Nurmagomedov, though McGregor offers a logical back-up option.

    "Tony Ferguson gets the next shot and obviously if for whatever reason Tony can't take the fight or doesn't want the fight at that time, then we would figure out what would be next," said White.

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    Nurmagomedov was keen to avoid becoming embroiled in such discussions, with his focus set on his post-fight meal.

    "You know what's interesting in this sport; even if you're 28-0 in MMA, 12-0 in UFC, you're one of the biggest stars, you smash everybody, people talk about how you have to fight with him, you have to fight with him, you have to fight with him. Just give me respect," he said.

    "My next opponent is a very good steak, with a burger and double cheese. I want this. With some juice with ice. I want to enjoy it. Give me a couple of days please."

    But when the subject turned to former two-weight world champion Georges St-Pierre, widely considered the greatest MMA fighter of all time but retired since February, Nurmagomedov could not hide his interest.

    He said: "Georges St-Pierre is a great guy, great champion, great athlete – he's a very good example for young kids. I know he's retired but if he wants to come back, if he feels hungry, if he feels he can improve his legacy with a fight with me and he can make 155 [pounds], I'm waiting for him."

    Nurmagomedov ruled out an imminent change in division, though acknowledged a step up to welterweight could come in the future, while also expressing a desire to raise money with a charity fight in Africa.

    "If the UFC have a big, big fight, they can build an arena somewhere like Congo, Nigeria, Somalia or Sudan, whatever. Fight there, make money and do some charity stuff," he said.

    "Africa is in a very bad situation with a lot of people dying because they don't have drinking water. We can do this, let's go. If UFC support it, I'm going to support it too.

    "Maybe I can fight with Georges St-Pierre. Georges St-Pierre is a very big star. They can build an arena in three months and maybe in January, February or March we can fight in somewhere like Congo, why not?

    "And all the money we make we can use on charity, on Africa or somewhere. Maybe they can make $50 million, maybe 40m, even if they make 30m for one night and give all this money for people – I like this kind of stuff."

  • UFC 242: Khabib Nurmagomedov salutes Dustin Poirier, takes shot at Conor McGregor in post-fight interview UFC 242: Khabib Nurmagomedov salutes Dustin Poirier, takes shot at Conor McGregor in post-fight interview

    Khabib Nurmagomedov said he has the utmost respect for his beaten UFC 242 opponent Dustin Poirier, while taking a shot at fierce rival Conor McGregor.

    The lightweight champion remained undefeated (28-0-0) with his third-round rear naked choke of Poirier (25-6, 1 NC) on Saturday.

    After the fight, Nurmagomedov paid tribute to Poirier, but the goodwill certainly did not extend towards McGregor – who he defeated at UFC 229 in a bout marred by an ugly post-fight brawl.

    Nurmagomedov wore a t-shirt in the ring and said he would be selling it and giving all of the proceeds to Poirier and his family.

    "Why I wear this t-shirt, I know that's going to go to a lot of charity stuff, guys, make sure I'm going to sell this t-shirt, all this money I'm going to send Dustin Poirier," he said.

    "This is what I want, you know, and why we have so much respect between us before the fight than my last fight? You know [McGregor] was a b******* guy, I have to work [with] a lot of crazy stuff, but I want to forget everything.

    "We show really what is MMA. MMA's number one thing is respect. When you come [to the] gym, the first thing what your coach, everybody teaches you, hey, you have to respect the gym, you have to respect team-mates, coaches, you have to clean your gym, everything's about respect.

    "MMA's not about trash talking, you know, this is what we show it with, that's important."

    Nurmagomedov was fighting for the first time since serving a nine-month suspension for his actions after his victory over McGregor, with the duo having been involved in an ill-tempered build-up.

    The champion scaled the cage after his win and got into a fight with McGregor's training partner Dillon Danis which then incited a brawl that went from the stands and into the ring.

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