Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated Justin Gaethje on UFC 254 on Saturday night, extending his undefeated streak to a perfect 29-0 while once again unifying the UFC Lightweight Championship. "The Eagle" won by submission in the second round.
Following his successfully title defense against Dustin Poirier at UFC 242, Nurmagomedov was supposed to have his long-awaited bout with Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 in April. Unfortunately, the travel restrictions surrounding COVID-19 made it impossible for him to leave Russia. Gaethje stepped up to take the champion's place and beat Ferguson with a fifth-round TKO, becoming the new interim champion.
The next challenge for the lightweight title will likely be against the winner of the Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier fight scheduled for Jan. 23. Nurmagomedov recently admitted his first fight against Poirier was the toughest of his UFC career, and his first bout with McGregor set the record for most MMA pay-per-view buys at 2.4 million buys.
"The fight with Dustin Poirier was emotionally tough, as it was my father's first time by my side at the UFC corner," Nurmagomedov told Reebok Russia leading up to Saturday's fight. "We were in Abu Dhabi, but I knew that almost the entire stadium was pulling for me. A lot of my relatives and friends were there, so I felt pressure. It can be very difficult when your family is around. It is not much easier for them than it is for me, you know. I knew they were nervous. I knew that no matter what I said, they would not calm down. When I was announced, I asked my father, "Are you nervous?" He confirmed. Then I told him: "That's all right, don't worry, we'll figure it all out now". And we did."
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