The eagle soared again, as Khabib Nurmagomedov finished Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 on Saturday in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to unify the lightweight titles.
Nurmagomedov entered the bout with an unblemished record, but having sat on the sidelines for nearly a year. He was suspended for nine months for jumping the cage after submitting Conor McGregor at UFC 229 on Oct. 6, 2018, to fight one of McGregor’s cornermen at Octagonside.
Poirier put years of work on the line, as he went 9-1, 1NC in his journey to claiming the interim UFC lightweight championship and a shot at unifying the belt with Nurmagomedov.
Nurmagomedov did exactly what he said he would do and what pundits expected him to do.
After the two danced around in the opening moments of the first frame, Nurmagomedov shot and scored the takedown, as he always does. Keeping his weight on Poirier and constantly shifting between rear-naked choke attempts and softening his opponent with punches, Nurmagomedov couldn’t be shaken.
Poirier came out firing his jab in round two and managed a few solid combinations, but Nurmagomedov waited him out, timed it, and again returned the fight to the canvas. Poirier scrambled, fighting to get to his feet, but even though he managed to get up a couple of times, Nurmagomedov stayed glued to him and drug him back to the canvas.
By the third round, Poirier’s gas tank was visibly emptying. He tried to jab and swung with big arcing punches, but Nurmagomedov was still fresh and again shot and scored the takedown.
Poirier caught Nurmagomedov in a guillotine choke on the way to the canvas, but the Eagle quickly escaped and took Poirier’s back. It wasn’t much longer before Nurmagomedov sunk his arm in deep around Poirier’s neck and squeezed.
With no escape in sight, Poirier tapped out.
At 2:06 of the third round, Nurmagomedov once again showed why he is the most dominant lightweight fighter on the planet, improving his overall record to 28-0, which includes 12 victories in the Octagon.
“I don’t know why I have so much everything in my life,” a humble Nurmagomedov said after the fight. “Everything I have because of my team.”
It was an impressive display by the champion after an 11-month layoff following the McGregor fight. But despite his dominance, Nurmagomedov had nothing but praise for Poirier.
“We show really what it is MMA. MMA, number on thing is respect. Everything about respect. MMA is not about trash talking. This is what we show with Dustin Poirier and his team.”
Though UFC commentator Jon Anik pressed Nurmagomedov to address a potential bout with Tony Ferguson, he had little to say about his next fight.
“Last two years was very busy for me. I want a little bit relax.”