UFC legend Khabib Nurmagomedov has a reason why he switched from an armbar to a triangle choke on Justin Gaethje in the UFC 254 main event.
Nurmagomeov had a stunning performance as he tapped Gaethje out cold with a second-round submission that sent his opponent to sleep. Nurmagomedov improved to 29-0 with the win including a 13-0 mark in the Octagon alone. But of course, what everyone was talking about the day after the fight was Nurmagomedov’s shocking retirement, with his incredible win over Gaethje being pushed to the side in favor of the GOAT discussion.
Getting back to the submission, it was especially impressive because it was the first time that Nurmagomedov has landed a triangle choke in the UFC. He had previously won four fights by triangle choke in Russia, including a triangle choke win in his first MMA fight in 2008. It is quite fitting, then, that his last win also came by triangle choke submission.
Speaking on the “DC and Helwani Show,” UFC color commentator Daniel Cormier explained why Nurmagomedov decided to attack Gaethje’s neck instead of his arm.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) October 26, 2020
“He told me when he was watching the interviews over the course of the week, he saw that Justin said he would never tap. Justin would never tap. So when he was going to the submission, he said it was his dad’s favorite position, into the mounted position going into the armbar, going into the triangle, he said it was his father’s favorite submission. So when he got there, he was going to do the armbar. But he had heard Justin say all week that he would never tap and he didn’t want to hurt him in front of his parents. So he went to the triangle and just kind of put him to sleep,” Cormier said of Nurmagomedov.
“I promise you. He actually told me that. Where he goes, ‘I didn’t want to hurt him in front of his parents, so I said I’m going to put him in the triangle. If he goes to sleep, he goes to sleep, you wake up, you’re fine.’ That’s exactly what he told me. He didn’t want to hurt Justin in front of his parents.”
This only just adds to the legend of Nurmagomedov, who many consider the greatest MMA fighter of all time in the wake of his win over Gaethje at UFC 254.
What do you think of the reasoning Khabib Nurmagomedov provided Daniel Cormier as to why he attacked Justin Gaethje’s neck instead of his arm?