Anyone who remembers Khabib Nurmagomedov’s drubbing of Michael Johnson at UFC 205 back in late 2016 will know “The Eagle” routinely tells his opponents to give up before finishing them off, to avoid any unnecessary damage.
That’s because the Dagestani grappler gets no pleasure from hurting his fellow combatants, with the lone exception being former UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor, who fell to Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 back in October 2018.
Based on the applause at the 0:59 mark, it seems he’s not alone.
“We compete in a very brutal contact sport,” Nurmagomedov said. “But it’s never my goal to inflict a lot of pain on my opponent. If I understand that I’m winning, I don’t aim to hurt someone bad. Well, with the exception of one fight. Let’s say in that fight, I beat that guy with pleasure, I’ll tell you.”
How much pleasure he gets from his next title defense remains to be seen. While Nurmagomedov continues to tease a Georges St-Pierre super fight, it’s more realistic to plan for a Tony Ferguson showdown, just as soon as “The Eagle” is prepared to land in New York.