Khabib Nurmagomedov's 5 best UFC fights
We’re now just a matter of weeks away from one of the biggest fights in UFC history, as UFC 229 will finally see the long-awaited fight between UFC Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and former titleholder – and the biggest star in the sport – Conor McGregor.
Practically everyone knows how McGregor got to this point and all about his biggest fights – vs. Mendes, vs. Aldo, vs. Diaz, vs. Alvarez – but Khabib’s journey has been a slightly longer one, albeit just as successful. The Dagestani fighter is 26-0 in MMA with 10 UFC victories to date, and he’s beaten some absolute killers along the way.
Here are Khabib’s 5 most impressive performances inside the Octagon.
#1 vs Thiago Tavares, UFC on FX 7 – 01/19/13
Coming into his fight with Thiago Tavares in January 2013, Khabib was determined to send a message to the UFC, the fans, and his fellow Lightweights. He’d actually struggled somewhat in his previous fight – a decision win over Gleison Tibau – with some fans feeling Tibau should’ve been given the nod. And for this showdown, he was stepping right into the hornet’s nest – Sao Paulo, Brazil, where a partisan crowd would be cheering Tavares on.
At the weigh-in, Nurmagomedov showed off his witty side, as he wore a t-shirt with the slogan “If Sambo was easy, it’d be called jiu-jitsu”. It might’ve annoyed the Brazilian fans, but by the time the fight came around, Khabib was done joking.
The fight was just two minutes old when, after a short period of feeling out, Khabib nailed Tavares with a big step-in left uppercut. The Brazilian went crashing down and after a series of elbows – referee Dan Miragliotta letting the fight go on for too long, to be truthful – ‘The Eagle’ was declared the winner by TKO.
The fans in attendance were stunned into silence – partly in horror at a Brazilian favourite being stopped so violently, partly in awe of Khabib – and it was suddenly crystal clear that there could be no doubts – Nurmagomedov was for real.