Khabib Nurmagomedov recently recalled the day he was crowned the UFC lightweight champion.
According to the former UFC lightweight champion, there were no fighters in the lightweight division who stepped up to fight him with the exception of Al Iaquinta. Khabib also revealed that he was given the offer to fight many top contenders but none agreed to face the 'Eagle' who had a professional record of 25-0 at the time and was 9-0 with the UFC.
Posting a picture from his lightweight title fight at UFC 223, Khabib wrote on Twitter:
Khabib Nurmagomedov was crowned the undisputed UFC lightweight champion at UFC 223 after defeating Al Iaquinta via unanimous decision. A last-minute replacement, Iaquinta weighed in at 155.2 lbs, which led to the New York State Athletic commission having a problem with the title.
Khabib Nurmagomedov has respect for Al Iaquinta
Khabib Nurmagomedov is known for mid-fight conversations with his opponents and his title bout at UFC 223 was no different. However, Khabib also claimed to have immense respect for his opponent Al Iaquinta, who was able to defend nine takedowns from the Dagestani superstar.
Talking about the mid-fight exchanges, Khabib 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."