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Khabib dismisses Justin Gaethje as UFC top contender: ‘You fell asleep’

Khabib says Justin Gaethje should step aside and make room for rightful UFC Lightweight title challenger, Islam Makhachev.

Khabib Nurmagomedov has no sympathy for Justin Gaethje’s Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight title ambitions.

Gaethje primed himself for a title shot after defeating Michael Chandler in a “Fight of the Year” candidate (watch highlights) at UFC 268 inside Madison Square Garden in New York City, N.Y., on Sat., Nov. 6, 2021. Gaethje (No. 2) is the closest in the rankings to champion Charles Oliveira with the exception of Oliveira’s next challenger, Dustin Poirier (No. 1).

Khabib, however, says Gaethje needs to step aside and allow Islam Makhachev (No. 4) to take his rightful place as title challenger following a dominant submission win over Dan Hooker at UFC 267 (watch here).

“In [your] last eight fight[s], you got finished three times, Justin. You had an opportunity to become champion, but you fell asleep,” Nurmagomedov wrote on social media, adding a sleeping face emoji. “Islam is on the nine-win streak, three fight[s] in 2021 and all finishes. Just shut up and admit that Islam deserves this title shot, not you.”

Nurmagomedov defeated Gaethje via second round technical submission (triangle choke) at UFC 254 on Oct. 24, 2020, to successfully defend his UFC 155-pound title. Nurmagomedov retired after the bout with an undefeated professional record of 29-0.

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