Best 3 fight performances of Khabib Nurmagomedov

After completing his third successful title defense against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, Khabib Nurmagomedov decided to hang up his gloves and retire as he didn't want to fight without his father by his side.

Khabib Nurmagomedov in a file photo [Image-Twitter]
By Blesson Daniel | Jan 12, 2023 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

There were hopes that The Eagle might reconsider his decision to hang up his gloves in October 2020, but it appears that he has made up his mind. As one of the all-time great fighters, a well-known figure in the world, and one of the most revered competitors in combat sports, Khabib Nurmagomedov exits the sport.

Khabib Nurmagomedov’s career was flawless. After completing his third successful title defense against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, the UFC lightweight champion retired. Despite months of attempts by UFC president Dana White to persuade him to return for one more match, he remained steadfast in his choice.

Nurmagomedov (29-0 MMA, 13-0 UFC) has destroyed every opponent he has faced and has grown more impressive as the opposition has been tougher. It’s probable that we will never witness a more dominant competitor than him since he left the sport as the UFC’s top pound-for-pound fighter.

READ MORE: Best 3 fight performances of Anderson Silva

Here are three of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s top UFC performances

1. Khabib vs Conor McGregor (UFC 229)

At UFC 229), Nurmagomedov faced the divisive former two-weight UFC champion Conor McGregor in what turned out to be the most popular pay-per-view in UFC history. The two exchanged jabs, and the buildup became really intimate. On fight night, though, Nurmagomedov controlled himself until the cage door opened.

McGregor was repeatedly dragged down by Nurmagomedov, who eventually overpowered him and even managed to finish him out with an overhand right in Round 2. However, in Round 3, McGregor would become the first man to defeat Nurmagomedov in a round.

In Round 4, Nurmagomedov regained the initiative by bringing McGregor to the ground once more. He then placed the finishing touches on the victory with a neck crank that made McGregor submit. A furious Nurmagomedov then leaped over the cage and into McGregor’s corner, sparking a fight that left both fighters suspended.

2. Khabib vs Dustin Poirier (UFC 242)

When Dustin Poirier aimed to unify the titles against Nurmagomedov at UFC 242, his confidence was at an all-time high.

Poirier has just won four straight fights, three of which were stopped, against former champions Anthony Pettis, Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje, and Max Holloway. On the other side, Nurmagomedov had recently defeated Conor McGregor via submission, giving him his biggest victory to date and catapulting him to prominence.

But Nurmagomedov was the only one under siege. For the first time in his UFC career, he not only had his father, Abdulmanap, on his side, but Khabib also had a significant role in bringing the UFC back to Abu Dhabi in front of an enthusiastic audience.

Although there was a lot of pressure on Nurmagomedov, he performed admirably. Once more, his smothering pressure would be too much. By the third round, Poirier had succumbed to Nurmagomedov’s pressure, and he was able to bring “The Diamond” back down and choke him out.

3. Khabib vs Justin Gaethje (UFC 254)

In what was the toughest fight week of his career, a grieving Nurmagomedov battled for the first time after the passing of his father. On paper, Justin Gaethje, with his knockout ability and illustrious wrestling career, presented the biggest threat to Nurmagomedov when he was up against him.

In the silent Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi, there was tension as Nurmagomedov didn’t ease up on the gas until the bell sounded. Gaethje was quickly put on his back foot as Nurmagomedov charged straight at him. Gaethje, though, was able to score powerful blows on the break as well as thunderous leg kicks that were beginning to wear down Nurmagomedov. But in Round 2, “The Eagle” persisted, finally knocking Gaethje to the ground and putting him to slumber with a triangle choke.

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