Khabib Nurmagomedov has retained his UFC lightweight world title with a stunning win over Dustin Poirier, in his first return to the Octagon since beating former two-weight champion Conor McGregor.
In what has been one of the most hotly anticipated fights in recent years, Dagestani-born Khabib was looking to re-establish himself as one of the biggest names in the sport, following his nine-month suspension for his part in the UFC 229 aftermath.
Coming into the fight as overwhelming favourite – being priced as low as 1/5 with some bookmakers – Nurmagomedov was also looking to extend his unbeaten record within the sport, a streak which now stands at an unprecedented 28 fights.
Poirier, on the other hand, was looking to continue his remarkable rise throughout the sport in recent years, having registered impressive victories over Max Holloway, Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje and Anthony Pettis in just his last four outings.
The apply named ‘Eagle’ has also once again laid down a serious claim to be regarded as the finest active mixed martial artist on the planet, if not one of the greatest to ever grace the Octagon.
Prior to his win over McGregor in 2018, Khabib remained an unfamiliar name to many fans of the sport, despite having quickly strung together a near-unbelievable record of 26-0 across his career.
Whilst some initially questioned his ability to transfer his early-career domination into wins against some of the sport’s fellow elites, stunning decision wins over Rafael dos Anjos, Edson Barboza and Al Iaquinta made many in-the-know take notice of the unrelenting grappler.
After a messy and protracted build up to his 2018 clash with McGregor – which saw the Irishman mock his rival’s family, friends and religion – Khabib cemented himself as one of the biggest names in combat sports with a neck-crank submission victory, following a brutal and utterly-dominant four rounds.
Following this latest victory over Poirier, questions will now once again be asked over who will be able to stop the The Eagle’s unrelenting conquest throughout the division.
Blockbuster fights with former Poirier opponents Holloway and Pettis have been talked as a potential route, whilst others have claimed a step-up in weight may be the only option for finding an opponent capable of ending his reign.
Rumours of a mega-money rematch with McGregor have also failed to go away ever since their 2018 fight and controversial aftermath, but The Notorious would almost certainly need a warm-up fight before being ready to face the Russian once again.News Now - Sport News