Khabib makes class post-fight gesture to defeated Poirier
A return to the old ways for 'The Eagle'.
He admitted, soon after he instigated a brawl at the end of UFC 229, that his father was going to be very upset with him. Tonight in Abu Dhabi, Khabib Nurmagomedov must have made his father proud by the manner of his UFC lightweight title victory over Dustin Poirier.
Nurmagomedov's coach Javier Mendez would credit Abdulmanap, the champion's father, with the strategy that did for a game but out-matched Poirier in the UFC 242 main event.
Quite simply, it is the same strategy that has led the Dagestani to his previous 27 MMA victories and would see him go to 28-0 tonight - wait, pressure, pounce and wrestle.
Few can live with Nurmagomedov, who has now seen off Edson Barboza, Al Iaquinta, Conor McGregor and Poirier in his last four fights. The only man to go the distance with him was Iaquinta and we are beginning to suspect that was for a reason [so he could sharpen up his striking game and go through championship rounds].
The only lightweight that could cause the champion some issues now looks to be Tony Ferguson, a two-time NCWA All-American wrestling champion. Following his third round submission win over Poirier, Nurmagomedov - wearing a Poirier t-shirt - mentioned both McGregor and Ferguson in his Octagon interview:
"Why I wear this t-shirt - I know Dustin does a lot of charity work. Guys, make sure... I'm going to sell this t-shirt and all this money [I get for it], I'm going to send Dustin Poirier. This is what I want.
"Why? Because we have so much respect between us. You know, my last fight was with this bullshit guy [McGregor] and we had a lot of crazy stuff. But I want to forget everything. We show what MMA is really about - respect."
Poirier and his wife run a charity for underprivileged communities called 'The Good Fight'. As the result was being read out, he wore a Nurmagomedov t-shirt that was traded for his 'Diamond' tee after the bout.
On Ferguson, Nurmagomedov said he wanted to rest for 'two or three days' before considering what his next fight would be. Earlier in the week, the champion seemed open to a December match-up with 'El Cucuy', the division's No.1 contender.
As for Poirier, he was struggling to hold . back the tears in his post-fight interview but vowed that he had 'a lot of thread left in these tyres'.
Hope Khabib McGregor 2 can live up to such a classy ending.