Khabib Nurmagomedov reveals what he was telling Al Iaquinta during their fight
'The Eagle' likes a bit of chat during his fights.
Khabib Nurmagomedov claimed the undisputed UFC lightweight belt in Brooklyn, on Saturday, after taking a unanimous decision victory over Al Iaquinta.
The Dagestani fighter emerged from a hectic, troubling week that saw him slated to fight three different opponents and targeted in a bus attack by Conor McGregor and his colleagues. At the Barclays Center, all of that was in the past as Nurmagomedov was declared the one and only champion of the 155lbs division.
The New York State Athletic Commission did note that it does not consider the title win to be valid, on their books, as Iaquinta - a late replacement - weighed in at 155.2lbs on Friday. The NYSAC did concede, however, that it was powerless to prevent the UFC from bestowing a title belt on whatever fighter it deemed to be champion.
Muddy waters but UFC fans will be used to that. Most will acknowledge Nurmagomedov to be the true champion while some will hold candles for McGregor or Tony Ferguson.
Following his win over Iaquinta, the newly minted champ was asked about his continuing trend of chatting to his opponents during a fight. Nurmagomedov even had some words for former UFC middleweight champion Matt Serra, who was in Iaquinta's corner. 'The Eagle' said:
"Yeah, we talk a little bit. I give him jab... one, two, three, four. I say 'Four'. He say, 'One more!'
"I give him a fake [jab] and say, 'No!' A little bit of chat.
"I talk to Matt Serra too. I take Iaquinta down and Matt starts saying to him, 'Good stuff. Do this, do this. It's working. It's working.' I talk with Matt a little bit, like, 'Good job Matt!'
"It's fun. If you can talk with your opponent and play with his mind, why not? But with Iaquinta it does not work. He keep going. He is real Brooklyn gangster. He's not Burger King. He is real gangster. Come here and fight like man. I have big respect for him."
The 'real gangster' and 'Burger King' comments were pointed barbs aimed at the former UFC lightweight champion, McGregor.
The full post-fight interview is certainly worth a watch:
The true champion, in the minds of so many fight fans.