How every Khabib Nurmagomedov opponent reacted after every round proves the nightmare is very real
Khabib Nurmagomedov may be the world's most terrifying fighter among the lighter divisions.
25 men have tried and failed to add the first entry to Khabib Nurmagomedov's loss column.
While the fights sometimes play out differently, the result has always been the same. By the end of the fight, any hope, spirit or enthusiasm is drained from the opponent's face. The Eagle's hand inevitably gets raised and usually, it's after he's outclassed some poor shmuck.
Just to show you how much his grinding and aggressive brand of MMA grappling breaks his adversaries, we've cobbled together some screenshots of all his UFC fights. These accurately illustrate what fighting Nurmagomedov can do a person, even trained killers who've dedicated their lives to the art of combat.
January 20, 2012 - Kamal Shalorus
After the second round, Shalorus was so disorientated from taking a pummelling for 10 minutes off the promotional debutant, he asked his corner three times what round it was.
"Is this the first round? Is this the second round? That's the last round?"
It's no surprise that Nurmagomedov was able to sink in the rear-naked choke in the third. By then, Shalorus was a broken man.
In comparison, here's how Khabib looked after the fight.
July 7, 2012 - Gleison Tibau
The calls for robbery here may have been influenced by Joe Rogan's commentary. When a fight is that close, it can never be called a robbery.
Khabib was the more aggressive fighter which you could tell from the nasty cut he opened up over the Brazilian's right eye. 'The Eagle's strong finish to the second round - a leaping knee before into a forceful right hand during a wild exchange clearly woke Tibau up.
The gash above Tibau's right eye was leaking profusely by the final buzzer. The angle of the camera meant that this wasn't seen at the end of the fight, but it was very noticeable during the final round.
Khabib, on the other hand, looked unnervingly photogenic.
January 19, 2013 - Thiago Tavares
Not much to show here. The referee stepped in after one minute and 55 seconds to put Tavares out of his misery after the ground and pound rained down.
May 25, 2013 - Abel Trujillo
You know you're putting on a grappling clinic when the crowd showers you with boos at the end.
Trujillo put in a valiant effort and secured some crafty sweeps early on, but the more the fight wore on, the more fatigue set in. Khabib only grew into the bout as he dragged it into the deep waters.
All smiles at the end for Khabib.
September 21, 2013 - Pat Healy
Credit to Healy, he gave Khabib a fight. It was an entertaining affair and he really showed his heart, but Khabib's class really shined through. This was the win that thrust Nurmagomedov into the title frame. After this one, everyone was talking about the rising prospect as a genuine contender for the strap.
While Healy looked visibly spent at the final buzzer, Khabib was... grand.
April 19, 2014 - Rafael dos Anjos
Khabib just had his number.
RDA claimed that he wasn't hurt after three rounds of being ragdolled around the Octagon. While this may have been true of his physical condition, the helplessness of being outclassed by a superior grappler left him mentally devastated on the night.
As for Khabib...
April 16, 2016 - Darrel Horcher
Imagine making your UFC debut against someone who's viewed by many as the uncrowned champion of the division. Not only did Horcher do this as a short notice replacement, but he stepped in for Tony Ferguson. Knowing the Russian was preparing for a fighter who a lot of people consider to be the best 155 lber on the planet only added to the pressure.
Horcher had heart, but in the end, he crumpled.
Not a bother on Khabib
November 12, 2016 - Michael Johnson
Any confidence Johnson gained from landing that haymaker in the first round quickly subsided when he secured the first takedown. From there, it was child's play for the Dagestani.
He expelled so little energy that he was able to mouth at Dana White between rounds. When he was closing in on the finish with the kimura, he was telling Johnson to tap to save his arm. 'The Menace' tried his hardest to survive, but the result was never in doubt.
Khabib barely broke a sweat
December 30, 2017 - Edson Barboza
Donald Cerrone, Bobby Green, Evan Dunham, Lucas Martins, Paul Felder, Tony Ferguson, Anthony Pettis, Gilbert Melendez, Beneil Dariush, Khabib Nurmagomedov. Barboza didn't beat all of them, but he showed up to all those contests. His gameness can never be questioned.
This hard-nosed reluctance to quit was very prevalent in the Nurmagomedov fight. The lopsided scorecards told the story, it was as one-sided a fight as you will ever see. Even though his body was broken down and beaten up, his spirit remained strong. A grin washed across his swollen face when the referee asked him if he wanted to continue in the third round.
If Conor McGregor, Tony Ferguson or Eddie Alvarez are going to do what no man has ever done before to Nurmagomedov, their best bet might be putting him away early. Nurmagomedov's got one goal in mind - to smash.