Khabib Nurmagomedov gave up $127m for promise to his mum

FORMER UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov turned down a whopping £70 million ($A127m) boxing match with Floyd Mayweather, according to his manager Ali Abdelaziz.

The recently-retired Nurmagomedov revealed his desire to box The Money Man after his UFC 229 victory over Conor McGregor in October 2018.

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Despite a public back-and-forth spanning nearly two years, a fight between the pair never came to fruition – although Nurmagomedov revealed last March he’d received a lucrative offer to face the boxing legend.

And according to Abdelaziz, another offer was sent The Eagle’s way after his retirement from mixed martial arts last October.

During an appearance on the Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson podcast, the Dominance MMA chief said: “Two weeks ago, (or) 10 days ago, Dana White called me.

“He said, ‘Georges St-Pierre, he said he’ll fight Khabib in a non-title fight at 165 pounds.’

“In a way, we’ve been waiting for Georges. I like Georges. He’s my friend. I like Georges.

“We’ve been waiting for Georges for four or five years. ‘I’m coming. I’m not coming.’

“Now, [he] said, ‘Hey, Khabib is retired. I’m retired. What about coming back and fighting Khabib now?’

“But you know, Khabib got offered $100 million after he was retired to fight Floyd Mayweather.

“$US100 million. $US100 million. You can ask Floyd. You can ask everybody.

“Khabib said, “No, I’m retired. I told my mother I’m retired. I’m going to keep my word to my mother. If my mother told me to fight again, maybe I will. But right now, she told me not to fight.”

Nurmagomedov hung up his gloves last October following his second-round submission victory over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254.

The Dagestani destroyer walked away from the sport following the death of his father and coach Abdulmanap, who passed away last July following complications stemming from COVID-19.

Nurmagomedov briefly flirted with the prospect of returning to the octagon earlier this year but opted not to backtrack on the promise he made to his mother.

UFC president Dana White tried his best to entice the former lightweight king back to the cage, although his efforts failed to bear any fruit.

In March, Nurmagomedov told ESPN: “Dana called this official, but I retired like four, six months ago.

“It’s very funny. Dana told me when he posted that someone commented saying, ‘Hey, he retired not today, he retired about five months ago,’ and I was like it’s funny.

“We had some conversations with Dana a couple of times and like two days ago we meet with him to talk like two real men.

“We had a very good conversation with them, good dinner, and I really appreciated him not only for me, but all the sport.”

He added: “It’s very hard when you have power, when you’re the best in the world, when you’re famous, have money and say to everything like this, ‘No.’

“It’s very hard. People maybe will never understand me, but I really hope they’re going to support my decision because everyone has their views.

“My view and my relationship with my mother, I feel like I have to stop because I feel like in every fight, every training camp, this takes some age away from my mother.

“And it’s like what do I have to do? I came to this sport to show who I am and became the best, I’m world champion, and pound-for-pound No. 1. I defended my title three times.

“ I defended my title in biggest fight of UFC history. What else? Only money-fights, but I don’t need money.”

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Conor McGregor brands Khabib Nurmagomedov “homophobic” in deleted x-rated rant

Conor McGregor launched an astonishing Twitter rant about his former UFC rival Khabib Nurmagomedov – labelling the Russian ‘homophobic’.

The two went head-to-head at UFC 229 in October 2018 with Nurmagomedov successfully defending his lightweight title via submission.

There had been extensive speculation regarding a rematch only for the former lightweight world champ to announce his retirement.

Nurmagomedov, 32, decided he would be leaving the UFC following his win over Justin Gaethje in October of last year, a decision which has since been confirmed.

However, that has done little to stop McGregor taking shots at his old foe in a series of now-deleted posts on the social media site.

Khabib Nurmagomedov beat Conor McGregor in 2018
Khabib Nurmagomedov beat Conor McGregor in 2018

The Notorious was initially responding to a user who claimed the commentary on their bout was biased towards his opponent.

He replied: “Real dirty. I’ve felt the commentary wrath a few times. Imagine this was the round I had won too.

“The guy was holding onto me crying to referee saying I was breaking the rules or some s***.

“And they try and say that I said this only business s***. Absolute horse plop.”

McGregor began by responding to a criticism of the commentary of his UFC 229 fight with Khabib
McGregor began by responding to a criticism of the commentary of his UFC 229 fight with Khabib

The Notorious then labelled his old rival as 'homophobic' before deleting posts
The Notorious then labelled his old rival as ‘homophobic’ before deleting posts

And in a subsequent reply to a tweet which claimed he cheated by holding Khabib’s shorts, he said: “I wasn’t holding his shorts! I was ramming my fingers up his homophobic ass.

“And just look at this happy face here. He loves it. He’s a fingers in the booty ass b****.”

Although a rematch with Khabib is unlikely, McGregor will get a chance to exact revenge on his most latest defeat, when he takes on Dustin Poirier in their trilogy deciding fight in July.

The Irishman has promised a ‘flawless performance’ as he looks to re-enter the title picture at 155lbs.

“July 10th I will do this absolutely flawlessly,’ McGregor said. “We have these clowns sussed and fully!

“They wanna play a game of tactics? No problem, see you in there.

“You’ve awoken a beast. A beast with the backing of a much higher power!

“Say your prayers.”

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Khabib Nurmagomedov hails coach Mendez after cornering ‘Dagestani gangster’ cousin Abubakar in UFC 260 win (VIDEO) — RT Sport News

Khabib Nurmagomedov’s cousin, Abubakar, earned the first UFC win of his career with a dominant display in a grudge match against Jared Gooden – and the ex-champion was a prominent figure in the octagon during his decision victory.

Appearing for the first time since losing on his UFC debut in November 2019, the welterweight made light of Gooden’s pre-bout claims that all Russian fighters had the same reliance on going to ground, mixing it up while appearing to wobble his opponent on a few occasions.

Nurmagomedov had cheekily suggested that Gooden should take up underwater chess as an alternative sport after hearing about his generalizations, and his opponent had also directed a barrage of crude insults towards the Russian’s family in a futile attempt to antagonize him in the build-up.

If there had been an issue for Nurmagomedov in fight week, it was perhaps his struggle to make weight, helped by his illustrious cousin, who revealed that he had stayed up late into the night to keep his relative company while he went through the cutting rituals required to balance the scales.

The former lightweight king clearly played a high-profile role during the fight, offering Nurmagomedov advice and instructions on his way to victory.

“Khabib getting that coach of the year,” wrote fellow UFC welterweight Belal Muhammad on Twitter, adding that Nurmagomedov had produced a “great performance” that “showed a little bit of everything”.

Speaking to RT Sport ahead of the fight, Nurmagomedov confirmed that Khabib took the lead role in some training sessions during the week, although he emphasized that Javier Mendez, the trainer who guided Khabib to some of his greatest victories, retained the final say during training camps.

Nurmagomedov clearly has a close relationship with Mendez, sharing playful social media videos with the coach as well as sessions alongside former champion Daniel Cormier, who dubbed him the ‘Dagestani gangster’.

Speaking before the fight, Mendez published a photo of Nurmagomedov bearing his nickname on a t-shirt, accompanied by the immortal phrase “father’s plan” – words synonymous with his former mentor and Khabib’s late father, Abdulmanap.

“Dagestan Gangster is going to battle today in the UFC,” wrote Mendez on Instagram. “This guy is family. Proud of this guy.”

Khabib used his account, which has almost 28 million followers, to share a photo of the team in the immediate aftermath of what he described as “another big win for our team.”

“We win together and we lose together,” he added. “My brothers – everything for me.

“We are proud of you, brother. We know you can do even better. We are blessed with our coach.

“He is the best in the world. Thank you for everything, coach. We love you.”

Watching Nurmagomedov scrap on the undercard of the headline fight between heavyweights Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou, a fan said: “Can’t imagine how incredibly hard it must be for Abubakar Nurmagomedov to go in the octagon everytime.

“Not only because of that family name, but also because he’s Khabib’s first cousin. Happy he got the win today. Looked dominant on the feet and on the ground.”

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Dana White finally accepts Khabib Nurmagomedov reality six months after retirement

UFC legend Khabib Nurmagomedov is officially retired — and no, you’re not having deja vu.

The 29-0 lightweight champion is going out with his undefeated career intact, the first man to retire at the top of the pound-for-pound rankings, and it’s just taken nearly six months for UFC boss Dana White to go through the five stages of grief.

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After his last bout against Justin Gaethe in October, Khabib revealed that it was his last fight as he triangle choked the American out in the second round.

“This was my last fight. No way I can come here without my father. When UFC call me with Justin, I talk with my mother for three days. I promise it will be my last fight. If I give my word, I have to follow this,” Khabib said at the time.

He said he had no interest in fighting either Conor McGregor or number one lightweight contender Dustin Poirier adding “I’ve choked out both of them. I’m not interested in this”.

Much of the world accepted the news but White couldn’t bring himself to giving up the dream of convincing Khabib to come back.

It didn’t stop Khabib from trolling McGregor after Poirier won the January fight between the two.

White was desperate to push the narrative that Khabib would return to chase the 30-0 against McGregor as it was the biggest fight possible, especially after the events of UFC 229, when the fight finished in chaos.

But White has finally reluctantly accepted that Khabib is done taking to social media to reveal he is “officially retired”.

Khabib also took to Instagram writing a farewell statement to the UFC.

“It was a good dinner with some great people,” he wrote.

“@danawhite thank you so much brother and the entire @ufc team for the opportunity to prove myself, you guys have changed many live forever because of this sport.

“Dana – I’ll never forget your attitude towards me, my father did not forget and my sons will remember you.

“Today there was a real conversation between real men.

“Also thank you to all team, sparing partners and all fans.

“I hope you will accept my decision and understand me.”

It’s not uncommon for UFC fighters to retire and return but Khabib has stood by his word.

And White told Yahoo Sports recently about chasing Khabib that: “I was just doing my job, doing what I should be doing”.

But all the fans wanted to do was tear White to shred for taking so long to accept what most of the rest of the sport had already accepted Khabib’s retirement.

It means the lightweight belt will finally be up for grabs, with number one contender Poirier and number two Justin Gaethe bypassed with Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler fighting for the belt at UFC 262.

Brazilian Oliveira has been in the UFC since 2010 but he’s won his last eight fights to be thrust into the championship reckoning.

Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler, who stunned Dan Hooker in his UFC debut with a first round KO on the co-main of the McGregor-Poirier card, will get his shot at UFC gold with in his second fight.

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Conor McGregor next fight, Dustin Poirier rematch, Nate Diaz trilogy, lightweight division, UFC 257 result, Michael Chandler, Charles Oliveira, Khabib

The UFC lightweight division is as messy as it is stacked with stars — and Conor McGregor could be the one to benefit despite having a losing record at 155 pounds.

A combination of factors – including long-reigning champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s pending retirement, the UFC’s decision not to make the fight between McGregor and Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 for the title and McGregor’s shattering knockout defeat last month — have combined to leave the division without an obvious way forward.

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Poirier no doubt holds the keys after adding McGregor’s scalp to a list that includes fellow contenders Dan Hooker and Justin Gaethje, but the Irishman still looms large because of the tantalising financial gain he offers any opponent. And at age 32 with a young son and 34 fights under his belt, money is obviously on Poirier’s mind.

When the UFC officially gives up on trying to coax Khabib back into the Octagon, it would likely want Poirier to fight for the title against the red-hot Charles Oliveira or division newcomer Michael Chandler.

But that plan of attack has been thrown into chaos by recent comments by Poirier.

The Louisiana native immediately shot down the idea of fighting Chandler, who impressed on debut at UFC 257 with a first-round finish of Hooker.

“Respect to Chandler, great win,” Poirier said. “But to come in and beat a guy I just beat and get a title shot, dude, I’ve been in – what is this? – 27, 28 fights in the UFC trying everything, fighting the toughest guys to get my hands on gold … That doesn’t really interest me at this point. I’ll go and sell hot sauce if that’s the case.”

Poirier believes Oliveira has a stronger case for a title shot after winning his past eight fights, including a one-sided beating of long-time contender Tony Ferguson in his last outing.

But the Brazilian faces the same problem many dangerous but relatively low-profile fighters face in securing a shot at the belt — he’s not going to line Poirier’s pockets.

Poirier is so uninspired he’s willing to step aside and give up the title shot he’s undoubtedly earned.

“I want to be the world champion … and Charles is a guy that’s paid his dues,” Poirier said. “He’s earned where he’s at, no doubt about it. Let him and Chandler fight for the belt. If they want Chandler in there for the title, and he’s calling for the title, let them fight for the belt. I’ll take a step back and just watch.”

That might be the sound of a man who is still only a week-and-a-half removed from a gruelling fight preparation and weight cut, but it also could be a signal Poirier would rather a big money trilogy fight with McGregor than a UFC title he’d be confident of picking up later.

There is one other option.

The UFC could argue Poirier and McGregor are 1-1 — and when Khabib is officially out of the way their third bout could be for the belt.

That satisfies Poirier with both the title shot and pay cheque he deserves and McGregor would no doubt be quick to sign up too.

But it would likely infuriate plenty of fighters on the roster and many fans — as ESPN’s Brett Okamoto argued.

“You know if Poirier fights McGregor again, there will likely be a UFC championship attached to it, and we both know, as amazing as McGregor’s career has been and as popular as he is, he shouldn’t be fighting for a UFC title in his next bout,” Okamoto said. “I don’t even have him ranked inside the top 10 at lightweight right now. He hasn’t won a 155-pound fight since 2016.”

But still, it appears, the division can’t move on without him.

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‘Ah f**k!’ UFC releases footage of Tony Ferguson reacting to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s retirement (VIDEO) — RT Sport News

UFC champ Khabib Nurmagomedov’s October retirement surprised even his closest confidantes. But, based on newly-released footage from the UFC, it seems few people took the news harder than Tony Ferguson.

The undefeated Russian standout called time on his career shortly after his second-round finish of Justin Gaethje on “UFC Fight Island” a little under two months ago, signalling the end of one of the most successful fight careers ever seen in mixed martial arts. 

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‘It’s like a wet dream’: Comeback kid Tony Ferguson hits out at UFC for ‘dangling’ world title in front of him

Nurmagomedov told UFC commentator Jon Anik that he had given his word to his mother that he wouldn’t continue his combat career outside the influence of his late father and coach, Abdulmanap, who passed away in July after experiencing complications arising from COVID-19.

It was clearly an emotional moment for the tearful Nurmagomedov who moved his career record to an unparalleled 29-0 moments before, but spare a thought for Ferguson – the man whom fate apparently decreed would never step into the cage with the Russian champion. 

On five separate occasions the UFC attempted to book a fight between the two top lightweight fighters, and five times it fell apart – and as Khabib made his announcement in the cage on that October evening it drove a stake through the heart of that fight ever taking place, save for a dramatic change of heart by the Russian.

And if you had offered a penny for Tony Ferguson’s thoughts throughout all of this, the time has come for your reward – as the UFC released footage of several fighters – Ferguson included – reacting to Khabib’s retirement speech.

And, as you can see in the footage, he was none too happy about it. 

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‘I see his father in him’: American Kickboxing Academy trainer Javier Mendez says Khabib is ‘already a great coach’ (VIDEO)

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Khabib Nurmagomedov retires from MMA after defending his UFC lightweight title with a broken foot | World News

Khabib Nurmagomedov has announced his retirement from mixed martial arts (MMA) after successfully defending his UFC lightweight title against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254.

Nurmagomedov extended his unbeaten record to 29-0 – his third successful title defence, having previously beaten Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier.

His win was also achieved with a broken foot.

Khabib Nurmagomedov with his late father. Pic: Instagram/Khabib Nurmagomedov

It was the Russian’s first fight without his father and coach, Abdulmanap, who died from complications caused by coronavirus earlier this year.

After his win, Nurmagomedov said: “Today I want to say this is my last fight. No way am I coming here without my father.

“When UFC called me about Justin I spoke with my mother for three days.

“She didn’t want me to fight without father and I said this is my last fight – and I have given her my word.

“Thank you so much Justin. I know you are great, I know how you take care of your people. Be close with your parents, because you never know what is going to happen tomorrow.

“Thank you coach, thank you guys. Today is my last fight in the UFC.

“It was my father’s dream. Justin and Conor will fight in January, I have choked both out, I am not interested in this.”

Khabib's gloves from his fight (Pic: UFC Twitter)
Khabib’s gloves from his fight. Pic: Twitter/UFC

UFC president Dana White revealed after the fight that Nurmagomedov had competed with a broken foot and that by retiring with a 29-0 record he has to be considered as one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time.

White said: “What this guy’s been through, we’re all lucky that we got to see him fight tonight.

“I’m hearing rumours of other things that I didn’t know about that you guys will hear about when he comes out later, I’m sure.

“Apparently, he was in the hospital, he broke his foot three weeks ago. So he has two broken toes and a bone in his foot that’s broken or something like that. That’s what his corner was telling me.

“He is one of the toughest human beings on the planet. He is just the number one pound for pound fighter in the world. And seriously, I have to start putting him up there at G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) status with whoever else you think is the G.O.A.T.”

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Khabib Nurmagomedov retires from MMA after beating Justin Gaethje to retain his UFC lightweight title

UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has called time on his mixed martial arts career following a second-round submission win over Justin Gaethje, leaving his gloves in the centre of the octagon to fulfil a promise to his mother.

He wore down his opponent on Saturday with his constant forward pressure before mounting Gaethje and locking him in a triangle choke that rendered the American unconscious to extend his record to 29 wins and no defeats.

Many questioned if he would have the heart for the fight against Gaethje following the July death of his 57-year-old father, Abdulmanap, due to complications caused by COVID-19.

His father had schooled him in combat sports from an early age and was in his corner in Abu Dhabi in September 2019 when Khabib choked out Dustin Poirier, on that occasion using a rear naked choke in another successful title defence.

Nurmagomedov broke down in tears after clinching the title bout, announcing the end of his career.

“I talked to my mother three days [ago]. She didn’t want me to go fight without my father, but I promised her it’s going to be my last fight, and if I give my word, I have to follow this,” an emotional Khabib said in the octagon.

“It was my last fight.

After a stunning run of 13 wins in eight years and a professional record featuring eight knockouts and 11 submission wins in his 29 victories, few would argue with the 32-year-old.

UFC president Dana White revealed after the fight that Nurmagomedov had gone into his final fight with a broken foot and several broken toes.

There had been doubts Khabib Nurmagomedov would have the heart for his first fight since the death of his father and former coach Abdulmanap (left).(Instagram: Khabib Nurmagomedov)


Dynamic, controversial career for Nurmagomedov

Nurmagomedov, a Dagestan-born grappling specialist, was one of the most dynamic competitors in recent MMA history.

He developed a well-rounded game under the tutelage of his father and an MMA gym, culminating in his ascent to the UFC title in 2018.

Khabib Nurmagomedov punches Conor McGregor at UFC 229
Khabib Nurmagomedov’s (left) UFC lightweight title win over Conor McGregor (right) made him one of the world’s most famous combat sport athletes.(AP: John Locher)

Nurmagomedov stopped Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier in his next two bouts before his year-long absence from competition.


His victory over McGregor made him one of the world’s most famous combat sports athletes. He also became one of the most controversial due to a wild brawl that erupted inside and outside the cage at UFC 229.

Nurmagomedov scaled the perimeter fencing of the octagon and started brawling with a member of McGregor’s team. Both fighters were escorted from the arena by police and security and were later suspended.

The UFC scheduled this pay-per-view show at an earlier-than-normal time to cater to his vast fan base in Russia and Europe.

Nurmagomedov had spoken of retirement before and his announcement confirmed he was finished with the sport after running through most of the UFC lightweight division.

“Dustin and Conor are going to fight in January,” Nurmagomedov said, referring to the probable meeting between the former contenders at UFC 257.

“I choked them both out. I’m not interested in this.”

Also on the card at UFC 254, former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker made his case for another title shot with a solid unanimous decision over fellow contender Jared Cannonier in the penultimate bout on Fight Island.


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Khabib Nurmagomedov retires from UFC after beating Justin Gaethje

Some believe Khabib Nurmagomedov is the greatest UFC fighter of all time

Khabib Nurmagomedov extended his perfect professional record as he retained his lightweight title at UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi – then announced his retirement.

Russian Nurmagomedov, 32, defeated interim champion Justin Gaethje with a second-round triangle choke submission to claim a 29th victory and unify the 155lb title.

Nurmagomedov said he had honoured the memory of his father, coach and mentor Abdulmanap, who died in July following complications arising from Covid-19.

Despite many believing Nurmagomedov would chase his 30th professional win before contemplating retirement, the emotional champion asked his team-mates to cut his gloves off before quitting.

“It was my last fight. There’s no way I’m going to come here without my father,” he said. “It was the first time after what happened with my father, when the UFC called me about (fighting) Justin, I talked with my mother for three days.

“She didn’t want me to fight without father, but I promised her it was going to be my last fight, and if I give my word, I have to follow this. It was my last fight here.

“I know only one thing I want from the UFC: Tuesday, you guys have to put me number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world because I deserve this.

“Undisputed UFC lightweight champion, 13-0, 13 in the UFC, 29 in my pro MMA career. I think I deserve this.”

Nurmagomedov ‘broke his foot three weeks ago’

“What this guy’s been through, we’re all lucky we got to see him fight tonight,” said UFC president Dana White. “I’m hearing rumours of other things that I didn’t know about. Apparently he was in the hospital. He broke his foot three weeks ago. So he has two broken toes and a bone in his foot that’s broken – that’s what his corner was telling me. Never told anybody.

“He is one of the toughest human beings on the planet and he’s the number-one pound-for-pound fighter in the world and, seriously, you have to start putting him up there with GOAT status with whoever else you think is the GOAT.”

UFC 254, which marked the final event of the sport’s second stint on Yas Island, saw the return of Nurmagomedov, who was unable to defend his title earlier this year because of Covid-19 travel restrictions in Russia.

At the time, Nurmagomedov was due to face rival Tony Ferguson at UFC 249, but Ferguson instead faced Gaethje, and was stopped in the fifth round as ‘The Highlight’ claimed the interim title and stepped into the number-one contender spot.

Gaethje was expected to pose problems for Nurmagomedov, with his collegiate wrestling experience considered a possible antidote to the champion’s smothering grappling style.

But Nurmagomedov dominated the first round with his high-pressure approach, then submitted Gaethje in the second.

Nurmagomedov added Gaethje’s name to a list of beaten opponents that also includes Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor, Al Iaquinta and Edson Barboza.

Khabib Nurmagomedov (second right) with his team
Khabib Nurmagomedov (second right) with his team after announcing his retirement

Nurmagomedov thanked Gaethje, who had arranged for his parents to fly internationally for the first time in their lives to watch him fight for the title, and paid tribute to a man who four years ago helped him make weight when he was struggling to lose the final few pounds for his short-notice fight with Darrell Horcher.

“Thank you so much, Justin. 2016 I remember when I cut weight, you helped me a lot. Thank you, brother,” Nurmagomedov said.

“I know how you are a great man. I know how you take care of your close people. I know a lot of things about you.

“Be close with your people, because you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. You never know.”

Whittaker wins again while Wood nets $50,000 bonus

In the night’s co-main event, Australian former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker continued his return to form since losing his title to Israel Adesanya last October by outpointing American Jared Cannonier to move back into title contention at 185 pounds.

British bantamweight Nathaniel Wood was also in action, but was edged out on the scorecards after a back-and-forth battle with American Casey Kenney on the preliminary card. However, their 140-pound catchweight match-up was awarded “Fight of the Night” honours, with both men receiving $50,000 bonuses for their respective performances.

More tributes to Nurmagomedov

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Khabib weigh-in controversy, Justin Gaethje, MMA news, Ariel Helwani, reaction

A UFC 254 headliner between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje that Dana White says could be the highest-selling fight in company history is on – but only just.

Sunday’s blockbuster on UFC Fight Island in Abu Dhabi was mired in late controversy after allegations a friendly official helped Khabib weigh in at the 155-pound limit.

Khabib was forced to strip naked before he stepped on the scales and placed his hands on his head in relief after making weight.

But several MMA figures claimed an official manning the scale moved the balance beam before it had time to properly settle and suggested Khabib may have been overweight.

“(The beam is going in an) upwards trajectory, and it has to balance,” sports nutritionist Mike Dolce said. “It’s going up. That means he’s heavy, and (the official) wipes it there as it’s still on its way up. It doesn’t bounce and doesn’t stabilise in the centre. That’s not correct.”

“Unfortunately, in my expert opinion, I do not believe that Khabib would have made the 155-pound weight class limit on this attempt,” added Dolce, who has helped countless high-profile fighters with weight cuts.

“What we thinking he actually weighed, 158lbs?” added journalist Sean Sheehan. “Don’t care, glad the fight is on … but that was dodgy as f***.”

ESPN’s Ariel Helwani tweeted: “That’s a veteran move by the official manning the scale, eh?”

Khabib’s coach Javier Mendez said he wasn’t at the weigh-in because there were no problems with his fighter’s cut – and rejected the allegations as “stupid”.

“I asked him, ‘How was the weight cut?’ And he said, ‘Easy, coach, like last time.’ And last time wasn’t that hard,” Mendez told MMA Junkie. “I mean, all weight cuts are hard as you know, but I don’t understand (why) people are making something of nothing. It’s stupid. He wasn’t struggling. If you would’ve watched him right now, he was grappling, you’d say wow that guy is strong as hell.”

Australians Robert Whittaker and Tai Tuivasa both made weight.


Main card

Khabib Nurmagomedov (155) vs Justin Gaethje (155)

Robert Whittaker (186) vs Jared Cannonier (185)

Alexander Volkov (265) vs. Walt Harris (254)

Jacob Malkoun (186) vs. Phil Hawes (186)

Lauren Murphy (126) vs. Liliya Shakirova (126)

Magomed Ankalaev (205.5) vs. Ion Cutelaba (205.5)


Stefan Struve (265) vs. Tai Tuivasa (265)

Nathaniel Wood (140) vs. Casey Kenney (140)

Alex Oliveira (173)* vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov (171)

Da Un Jung (206) vs. Sam Alvey (206)

Liana Jojua (126) vs. Miranda Maverick (126)

Joel Alvarez (159.5)** vs. Alexander Yakovlev (155.5)

*Oliveira came in two pounds over the welterweight limit

**Alvarez came in 3.5 pounds over the lightweight limit

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