Retired UFC star Khabib Nurmagomedov revealed Justin Gaethje was perhaps the toughest opponent of his career, with ‘The Eagle’ crediting ‘The Highlight’ for hurting him with virtually every punch, and kick, he threw.
“This guy [Justin Gaethje] hit like a truck, you know. Nobody hit me harder than Justin Gaethje. His kick, his punch, his left hook, right hook, right uppercut,” Nurmagomedov told heavyweight boxing legend Mike Tyson in a recent interview (h/t Low Kick MMA). “I make him hit me, you know. When I go to the cage and I was sitting like, ‘Okay, I’m gonna go, I’m gonna bring him into the deep ocean…I’m gonna make him tired in stand-up and I’m gonna bring him on the ground and finish him.”
Gaethje landed some vicious leg kicks early on in the contest but Khabib weathered the storm and executed his gameplan to a tee, tiring Gaethje on the feet before dragging him to the ground in the second round and submitting the Arizonian with a textbook rear-naked choke. Khabib retired in the octagon following the fight and dedicated a tribute to his late father and coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov.
Gaethje hasn’t fought since his loss to Nurmagomedov last year but will look to bounce back when he takes on former three-time Bellator lightweight champ Michael Chandler at UFC 268 on Nov. 6 in New York City.