Number one contender to the UFC lightweight championship Justin Gaethje has claimed that champion Khabib Nurmagomedov actually lost his second fight, and therefore his undefeated status, to Gleison Tibau… EIGHT years ago.
Tibau gave Khabib a serious run for his money, and after the two couldn’t be separated in the three scheduled rounds, the fight went to the judges’ scorecards.
Media scorecards at the time showed a number of experts thought Tibau should have won in Las Vegas. Despite this, Khabib was given the decision at UFC 148.
Gaethje remains sceptical to this day about that result, however, telling ESPN: "I think he lost to Tibau though, that’s just me."
It wasn’t just experts who thought Tibau was robbed, fans alike held the same opinion.
One fan even wrote on MMA Decisions Messageboard: "You have to be a blind nutthugger to score it for Khabib. SHAME ON INCOMPETENT JUDGES ONCE AGAIN!!!!"
After dismantling Tony Ferguson at UFC 249, Gaethje earned his shot at the champion.
Although currently fighting at welterweight, a potential rematch against Khabib for Conor McGregor is always floating around.
It is seen as mere gossip surrounding the division at this point, however, you can never rule anything out when it comes to the Irishman.
When asked about McGregor and Khabib, Gaethje replied: “If I beat Khabib and then I beat Conor, in these times, under this microscope that’s legendary.
"Absolutely legendary, that will be almost unmatched in the history of what we do. So, to be in that position feels great. Unless I die young, to have those experiences is exhilarating, it's awesome."
In a post-fight interview at UFC 249 with Joe Rogan, Gaethje was seen to throw the interim belt on the floor, seconds after being awarded it.
When Rogan questioned the American as to whether he wanted ‘that one’, Gaethje replied: "Let’s wait for the real one."
Even in pre-fight interviews and press conferences as recent as UFC 223, Khabib gets agitated when asked about the Tibau fight, leading many to believe that this is down to the fact that he knows he lost.
When Ferguson was asked about the Tibau-Khabib fight, he shared the same opinion as Gaethje stating: “That was the one fight he lost in the UFC.”
Also, it’s important to bare in mind that Khabib didn’t win by majority, he won by unanimous decision, with all three judges scoring the contest 30-27 in favour of the Russian.
Khabib won by three points on all the judges’ scorecards, meaning each round must have been won 10-9, and this is where fans and experts are just completely lost as there is no way that Khabib won every round that night.
Tibau defended most takedown attempts and most fans and experts alike believe he won round two.
Despite this controversial fight eight years ago, Khabib still remains undefeated in UFC, however, with Gaethje on the horizon, and a rematch with McGregor almost inevitable, his undefeated record looks to be in jeopardy.
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- McGregor's tweet after Khabib's father is placed in a coma