Khabib Nurmagomedov has explained how he refused to break the arm of two of his previous opponents – Justin Gaethje and Michael Johnson.
Back at UFC 254, Khabib went toe to toe with Gaethje on Fight Island with the UFC lightweight title being on the line.
Despite ‘The Highlight’ landing some solid leg kicks, his cardio was no match for the Russian, as Nurmagomedov smothered him before putting the American to sleep with a triangle choke. Four years prior, he defeated Johnson at UFC 205 courtesy of a nasty kimura with Joe Rogan proclaiming “he’s gonna break his arm!” on commentary.
Khabib shows mercy in Abu Dhabi
Now, eight months later, Khabib has revealed in to RT Sport that he opted for a triangle instead of an armbar at UFC 254 because he didn’t want to seriously hurt Gaethje in front of his family.
“I can point out two of them [his toughest opponents] – Justin Gaethje and Michael Johnson,” Khabib said.
“When I trapped [Johnson’s] hand and went for the kimura, I could’ve broken his arm. I was executing the move very carefully because if you break an arm that way it will never be the same.
“So I was very careful, rolling it very carefully, and just asked for him to give it up.
“As for Justin, first I went for his arm.
“And only then I moved to the triangle choke. I realised, he would not give up and I didn’t want to cripple his hand, so I went for the triangle choke.
“His parents were there in attendance, his father, his mother… in the front row. Footage doesn’t show it, but when I entered the cage I could see them sitting there and looking at me. So those two guys I didn’t want to hurt too bad.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov promptly retired from professional mixed martial arts at 29-0 following the win over Gaethje, cementing his position as one of the greatest lightweights of all time.
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