Khabib Nurmagomedov is the new kingpin at Lightweight.
If the buildup to UFC 223 was unpredictable chaos, it’s main event was not. Khabib captured Conor McGregor’s undisputed UFC Lightweight belt, dominating Al Iaquinta through a 5-round decision.
Of course, as always different people saw different things. As the fight wore on, Khabib abandoned his greatest strength –wrestling- and elected to stand up with Iaquinta. Khabib’s striking is neither sophisticated nor polished and commentator Joe Rogan immediately began criticizing Khabib’s skills and commenting that striking is a massive whole in his game. Other viewers were impressed with the fact that Khabib chose to employ an obvious weakness in a championship fight- and still completely dominated.
In a drawn- out post-fight interview, Khabib called out semi-retired former UFC Welterweight and Middleweight champion Georges St. Pierre.
“I remember when I grew up, 11, 12 years ago, (when I was in the) Junior Combat Sambo Dagestan championships, he fight for UFC title. When I grew up, I watch his all fights with my father. He is greatest athlete who ever fight in UFC.”
According to MMAFighting, St-Pierre responded promptly, telling Ariel Hewani that “I feel UFC and Khabib got unfinished business before I try to make a step in here to go for the 155 title.”
Most likely he is referring to a Lightweight title defense against Conor McGregor of Tony Ferguson.
Khabib also used the opportunity to speak at length in Russian. A translation comes via BloodyElbow:
”Our elder brother is a co-owner of our team Ziyavudin Magomedov is in a difficult situation,” Khabib said in Russian during the UFC 223 PPV. “He was very helpful to me and other athletes from Russia. Now he has problems, but I want him to know that we, the athletes, are praying for him. I believe that this situation will soon be resolved. I hope that our leader Vladimir Putin will help him. I want to congratulate him on the victory in the last election.”
Russian billionaire Magomedov was arrested on March 31 and is facing 20 years of jail time for embezzlement. He was denied bail and his awaiting his upcoming trial on May 30. Magomedov is an avid combat sports fan who has invested heavily in Russian MMA, including his foundation of the Eagles MMA fight team, of which Khabib is President.
You can also take a look at the UFC 223 aftermath below.