When he was competing, Khabib Nurmagomedov was known for utterly mauling his opponents. However there were two opponents that he actually felt bad about hurting in the way that he did.
Khabib retired from the sport with an undefeated record of 29-0. During that time, he not only won and defended the lightweight title, but faced very little in the way of resistance from any of his foes.
That being said, Khabib is not a person who holds any sort of grudges against his opponents. In fact, as he explained while speaking to media recently, there were actually two people that he felt bad about beating up so bad.
“I can point out two of them — Justin Gaethje and Michael Johnson. When I trapped (Johnson’s) hand and went for the kimura… I could’ve broken his arm,” Khabib explained (h/t RT Sport).
“I was executing the move very carefully, because if you break an arm that way it will never be the same. So I was very careful, rolling it very carefully, and just asked for him to give it up.
“As for Justin… First, I went for his arm, and only then I moved to the triangle choke… I realized, he would not give up and I didn’t want to cripple his hand, so I went for the triangle choke,” Khabib continued.
“His parents were there in attendance, his father, his mother… in the front row. Footage doesn’t show it, but when I entered the cage I could see them sitting there and looking at me. So those two guys I didn’t want to hurt too bad.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov Retired A Legend
When Khabib Nurmagomedov beat Michael Johnson, he was just entering the title picture in an undeniable way. It was this fight that is remembered for him telling Johnson that he deserves a title shot, while pounding Michael into the ground.
Incidentally, the other fight that he mentioned, with Just Gaethje, was what appears to be the final fight of his career. The hard leg kicks from Justin in the first round made this one of Khabib’s toughest fights, at least until he took down Gaethje and quickly submitted him in the second.
If Khabib Nurmagomedov truly does decide to walk away from the sport for good, as it appears is the case, it is impossible to deny the dominance he showed. He may feel bad about it, but those two fights are some of his most iconic.