Khabib: Video shows the only three times UFC star 'got in trouble'

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Khabib Nurmagomedov’s 29-0 record is a reflection of his sheer dominance in UFC, but it wasn’t the cakewalk some people imagine it to be.

The Russian MMA fighter cemented his status as the undisputed lightweight champion of the world following his ‘final’ UFC fight in October 2020.

Khabib’s journey to eternal glory was one of hard-work and dedication, and the Russian ensured no one was going to stand in his way of achieving what he did.

While no fighter has yet to best Khabib in the Octagon, a few came close to giving The Eagle a run for his money, and those three were Michael Johnson, Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje.

Based on each of his career fights, Johnson, Poirier and Gaethje were the ones who gave Khabib the most trouble, and thanks to a video from YouTuber Martial Liam, you can see why.

Michael Johnson


Khabib fought Johnson in an undercard matchup at UFC 205 in November 2016. Despite this being an undercard fight, it had genuine title implications, and boy did it live up to expectations.

The Russian won the fight via a third-round submission, but Johnson had moments where he looked the better fighter, most notably in the first round.

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The American came out the gate guns blazing as he very much played to his strengths early on. Johnson was quicker and had the reach advantage over his opponent.

Khabib took a fair bit of punishment from Johnson before showing how fierce he truly was. Johnson tired himself out after the first round and simply could not deal with Khabib’s prowess for the rest of the match.

The Russian forced a tap-out in round threeRound 3, and despite Johnson’s energetic start, Khabib stayed patient and waited for the right opportunity to assert his dominance and secure the victory.

Dustin Poirier

A dominant display from Khabib gave him a well-deserved victory over Poirier, but the American’s stand-up game was a nuisance to the Russian, who is a lot better on the canvas.

Poirier gave quite some trouble, especially when the Russian’s head popped free while the fighters were standing. Yet despite Poirier’s tenacity, Khabib’s aggression and discipline was too much for the American to handle.

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Khabib’s wrestling technique won him this fight, with the Russian’s power seemingly impossible for any fighter to stop.

Just like he did against Johnson, Khabib won this fight via a third-round submission. This fight could have gone Poirier’s way if Khabib wasn’t so good on the canvas, but much like quicksand, once the Russian brings you down, there’s very little you can do to save yourself.

Justin Gaethje

Compared to Johnson and Poirier, Gaethje is arguably the better fighter in terms of coming close to Khabib’s grappling game.

We all know how this fight turned out, but in a first round where Khabib did not attempt a single takedown until the final minute, Gaethje took advantage and landed some good strikes.

The American actually had more successful hits and significant strikes than his opponent. A series of kicks and body shots from the American showed the sense of urgency he was fighting with. Yet, once the fight became a grappling game, there really was only one winner.

Khabib was far more aggressive in the second round than the first, as he gave Gaethje no chance of gaining any more momentum. Khabib forced a submission midway through the second round to seal his 29th career win out of 29.

The Russian seemingly retired after this fight, but as rumours continue to circulate over a return to the Octagon, which fighter could potentially be next in line to cause some trouble for Khabib?

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