Justin Gaethje believes he was making things uncomfortable for Khabib Nurmagomedov before “Eagle” scored a second-round submission win at UFC 254 earlier today (Sat., Oct. 24, 2020) live on ESPN+ PPV from “Fight Island” to retain his UFC lightweight title.
Gaethje — who became the 13th UFC fighter to come up short against Nurmagomedov — spoke about his performance during his post-fight interview with Jon Anik. “Highlight” didn’t make any excuses for getting submitted early into the second round, but he did reveal that he thought Khabib was in a “bad spot” before he found the finish.
“It sucks, I’m hurt,” Gaethje said. “It’s emotional. Ultimately, it’s the name of the game, man. I had him in trouble. I wasn’t very many kicks away from him not being able to walk. He’s going to limp … limping for at least the next three weeks. That’s nothing to be proud of because I lost, but, I felt alive … I felt great. I believe I did a great job of causing damage. Keeping the distance, controlling the distance, threatening and causing damage. I caused damage in there.
“I know he was in a bad spot,” he later added. “Even if he wasn’t, he did what he had to do. Took me down. He is very strong. I know he made his father so proud.”
If Khabib was in a “bad spot” prior to his submission finish over Gaethje maybe it had something to do with his pre-fight ailments. Regardless, Nurmagomedov shook off the injuries, powered through Gaethje’s vicious leg attacks, captured another dominant win, and felt the time was right to announce his retirement from MMA.
While Gaethje will have to stomach this loss and think about where things went wrong, it should be noted that “Highlight” was up on the official scorecards after the first round of action. That leaves Gaethje as the only fighter other than Conor McGregor to win a round against Nurmagomedov.
Check out the official scorecard below courtesy of UFC:
With Khabib no longer in the picture it makes sense for UFC to involve Gaethje in any title plans it has moving forward. After all, Gaethje is 4-1 in his last five trips to the Octagon, including three first-round knockout finishes and a masterful performance against Tony Ferguson.
What say you, Maniacs? Was Khabib in a “bad spot” before his submission win over Gaethje?
For complete UFC 254 results and coverage click here.