Khabib Nurmagomedov believes Justin Gaethje “gave up” in their lightweight title unification bout this past October in Abu Dhabi.
Gaethje and Nurmagomedov squared off in the main event of UFC 254, in what many believed would be the toughest fight of Khabib’s career.
‘The Highlight’ had entered the fight on a four-fight win streak, with all of those victories coming by way of knockout. During that impressive stretch, Gaethje had scored finishes over James Vick, Edson Barboza, Donald Cerrone and Tony Ferguson.
Despite that previous momentum, Gaethje proved to be no match for Khabib on October 24. ‘The Eagle’ ultimately emerged victorious by way of second round submission, stopping the American with a triangle choke.
Nurmagomedov (29-0 MMA), who is currently being hounded by UFC President Dana White for one more fight, recently reflected on his most recent lightweight title defense in an interview with ACA fighter Magomed Ismailov.
During the conversation, Khabib revealed that he had dealt with mumps and a broken thumb in the lead up to his UFC 254. In addition, the undefeated Russian suggested that Justin Gaethje “gave up” during their fight.
“You may not see this, but I felt it: He gave up,” Nurmagomedov said of Gaethje (via MMAMania). “I mean, his will was broken. He gave up mentally. I don’t think that I won this fight physically, but rather mentally.”
Justin Gaethje (22-3 MMA) has not competed since his setback to Khabib Nurmagomedov. With that said, ‘The Highlight’ has recently expressed interest in fighting Michael Chandler next. The former Bellator champion is coming off of a sensational knockout win over Dan Hooker in his Octagon debut.
As for Khabib, ‘The Eagle’ is still allegedly pondering his future. Although he announced his retirement after submitting Gaethje at UFC 254, Dana White remains confident he can bring ‘The Eagle’ back for one final fight.
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