July 28, 2018

Khabib Nurmagomedov’s 4 Best UFC Fights/Octagon Moments

The upcoming super fight between UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and ex-champion Conor Mcgregor is one that’s excited legions of fans – many of whom believe the Irishman will have the decided edge, while others yet believe that the hard-nosed Dagestani wrestler is all but guaranteed to win.

The following text doesn’t aim to persuade fans who believe in McGregor or Nurmagomedov that they’re right or wrong, but rather, it aims to show, through various in-Octagon moments, that Khabib has what it takes to emerge victorious. Given how unpredictable MMA is especially at the highest level – neither man is a “lock,” but if Nurmagomedov performs at his best, he can undoubtedly win against McGregor.

The following examples are proof of the point, these are Khabib Nurmagomedov’s 4 best fights in the UFC prior to the fight against “The Notorious”.

  • 4. Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Thiago Tavares via First-Round Knockout.

UFC on FX: Bisping versus Belfort, 19 January 2013

Thiago Tavares is one of the more underrated competitors to ever step foot inside the Octagon. Although he was released from the promotion following a loss to rising contender Doo Ho Choi, Tavares collected no shortage of awesome victories during his tenure – including a first-round, “Performance of the Night” submission of Robbie Peralta, as well as a first-minute “Performance of the Night” submission of Clay Guida.

Accordingly, Khabib’s first-round knockout of Tavares – which was collected on Thiago’s home soil, and is his fastest career loss to date is absolutely remarkable.

Why It’s Important

Nurmagomedov’s victory over Thiago Tavares is especially important because of the way it was achieved; Khabib dropped the BJJ blackbelt Tavares with an uppercut and poured on the ground and pound to win the fight. Thus, Khabib does, in fact, have striking abilities of his own – abilities he’s not afraid to put to use inside the Octagon. This means that fighters must watch out for his hands in addition to the best wrestling in the UFC.

  • 3. Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Abel Trujillo via Unanimous Decision.

UFC 160, 25 May 2013

Abel Trujillo is well-known amongst MMA hardcores as a vicious, knockout-minded striker who possesses the power to put any competitor out cold with a single punch. Accordingly, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s one-sided unanimous decision over him (Abel) is impressive in its own right.

However, what really makes the triumph so significant, in retrospect, is the fashion in which it was earned and the circumstances surrounding it. Heading into this UFC 160 match-up, Nurmagomedov for the first and, to date, only time in his Octagon career stepped onto the scale heavy. The dedicated weight cutter Nurmagomedov weighed-in officially at 158.5 lbs., and as fans are aware of following his botched weight cut ahead of a scheduled title fight against Tony Ferguson, he sheds a tremendous amount of water before his fights.

As such, the exhaustion Khabib undoubtedly felt against Trujillo, given how much weight he forced out of his body, must have been unparalleled; in this way, his performance is even more daring and outstanding than it would have been otherwise. For, if Khabib can succeed after putting his body under such duress, he can succeed in almost any circumstance.

In fact, despite the weight-cut dilemma and its corresponding exhaustion, Nurmagomedov dominated Abel Trujillo in every area of the game, scoring a UFC record 21 takedowns in the process.

Why It’s Important

The victory is important because it demonstrated that when the going gets tough, Khabib doesn’t get going – quite the opposite, actually. This fight was definitely one of the best in the UFC for Khabib Nurmagomedov.

  • 2. Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Rafael dos Anjos via Unanimous Decision.

UFC on Fox 11: Werdum versus Browne, 19 April 2014

The summary of this remarkable victory can be kept short and sweet: Rafael dos Anjos was, in April 2014, the future UFC Lightweight Champion and a future welterweight title contender. The well-rounded Brazilian was and is able to strike and grapple with the best competitors in all of MMA, and to date he’s earned victories over the likes of Evan Dunham, Donald Cerrone, Nate Diaz, Benson Henderson, Anthony Pettis, Neil Magny, Tarec Saffedine, Robbie Lawler, and many, many others.

Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated dos Anjos via unanimous decision – three 30-27 scorecards and looked no worse for the wear after doing so. He demonstrated with his performance that he can hang with the most complete fighters on the UFC roster.

Why It’s Important

Khabib Nurmagomedov shined and dominated against a balanced and elite fighter, one of the best in the division. He showed that he has the ability to compete against the finest athletes in the sport – a label that certainly suits Conor McGregor.

  • 1. Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Edson Barboza via Unanimous Decision.

UFC 219, 30 December 2017

Lastly, Nurmagomedov’s one-sided beatdown of top-level lightweight Edson Barboza, for which he was awarded a “Performance of the Night” bonus, more than proves that he is ready to lock horns with Conor McGregor. Khabib’s prior victory over the skillful Michael Johnson was also dominating, but Barboza’s style, as well as the fact that he can land his devastating strikes from anywhere, makes him an opponent that is, on paper, tough for someone like Nurmagomedov to dominate.

In reality, though, Khabib had far from a difficult time in the bout. In fact, the match wasn’t remotely competitive, as Nurmagomedov walked away with 30-24 scores from two judges and a 30-25 score from the last judge. He wasn’t at all fazed by the same lightning-fast kicks, punches, and knees that finished countless formidable martial artists.

Why It’s Important

Bluntly stated, if Nurmagomedov can close the distance against someone like Edson Barboza so consistently and without being clipped, he has (at the very least) a chance to do so against each and every Lightweight signed to the UFC. This fight against Barboza was one of the best ones for Khabib in the UFC career.

As was stated initially, there’s no such thing as a “lock” in a fantastic match-up like Conor McGregor versus Khabib Nurmagomedov; McGregor’s striking is remarkable, and as the described Octagon moments indicate, Khabib possesses the ability to adapt to and thrive in nearly any combat situation. The fun of the upcoming bout is its unpredictability.

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