Khabib Nurmagomedov initially wanted to impress the New York City crowd more than usual by standing with Michael Johnson at UFC 205, but eventually scrapped that idea and resorted to his grappling game to get the job done.
Besides himself, no one else from Nurmagomedov’s camp wanted him to trade shots with “The Menace” on the feet, as Johnson’s most likely way of winning the fight was, by far, knocking the Russian out.
Johnson clipped the lightweight contender regularly on the feet in the first round — probably more than what the undefeated lightweight was comfortable with — which led to a successful takedown attempt from Nurmagomedov, and eventually a submission victory for the 28-year-old.
“You know what’s interesting? I can stay with him stand-up, but I have plan — I have to take him down,” Nurmagomedov said in a post-fight scrum (via Submission Radio). “My sparring partners, my brothers, Javier Mendez, my management team — everybody — (said), ‘Hey, take him down, take him down.’ I hear everything, but I wanna say I control everything. I wanna stay with him stand-up. But I think, ‘OK, let’s go take him down.’”
UFC 205 took place live from Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday, Nov. 12. In the main event, featherweight champ Conor McGregor became the first fighter to hold two belts simultaneously in UFC history with a knockout win over 155-pound champ Eddie Alvarez.