Hundreds of fans crowded the tiny Makhachkala airport in Dagestan to welcome Khabib back to Russia. Few fighters ever receive this treatment pic.twitter.com/hkfL628XvW
— Karim Zidan (@ZidanSports) November 16, 2016
One of the most dominant performances of UFC 205 – a card that was especially rich in dominant performances – came courtesy of Dagestan’s Khabib Nurmagomedov. The streaking lightweight achieved his big win over a game Michael Johnson in the second last bout of the undercard.
The fight began with Johnson tagging Nurmagomedov on the feet. Nurmagomedov didn’t let this bit of adversity deter him, however, as he quickly grounded the fight to get work with his incredible grappling skill. From there, it became a lopsided fight in favor of the Dagestani contender. For the duration of the second, he pummelled Johnson on the mat, pushing him to the drink of a stoppage. And though Nurmagomedov could not achieve that stoppage in the second, he did in the third, finishing things off with a bone-bending kimura.
From there, Nurmagomedov did the best possible thing for his career, issuing a dynamite callout of MMA superstar and soon-to-be two-division champ Conor McGregor.
“I want to stay humble,” Nurmagomedov said. “But I have to talk, because your guys talk too much, and you know what’s interesting? I understand how crazy powerful the UFC PR machine is. [Conor McGregor] beginning of the year, he tapped like a chicken, end of the year, he fight for the title. Crazy.”
“I want a fight with your chicken, because this is the number-one easy fight in the lightweight division,” he continued.
Between his dominant victory and his awesome post-fight speech, Nurmagomedov could not have done more to raise his stock. With his stock now higher than ever, he looks like he could be the next man to challenge Conor McGregor for the lightweight title.
Of course, any fight with McGregor will have to wait, as the Irish star is planning to take some time off to father his first child with long time girlfriend Dee Devlin. So, in the meantime, Nurmagomedov has returned to Dagestan to see his family. The streaking lightweight arrived in the Dagestani capital of Makhachkala to a hero’s welcome, as hundreds of dedicated fans crowded the city’s tiny airport to welcome him home.
See the video of Nurmagomedov’s homecoming at the top of this post. Apologies for the low quality of the video!
Do you think Nurmagomedov will get the next crack at McGregor? Sound off, PENN Nation!