On Saturday night, Khabib Nurmagomedov finally completed his lifelong ambition to become the UFC’s lightweight champion.
‘The Eagle’ had initially been scheduled to take on Tony Ferguson in the UFC 223 main event. However, with the fight having already been cancelled on three previous occasions, a freak accident saw ‘El Cucuy’ requiring knee surgery and forced to withdraw once again.
Max Holloway was subsequently drafted in on six days
notice with the featherweight champion electing to take on the challenge and step up a weight class in order to face the undefeated Russian.
However, a gruelling weight cut saw the Hawaiian forced out of the event and, suddenly, with just over 24 hours remaining until the event took place, no one seemed to know who Khabib would be facing. Anthony Pettis and Paul Felfer were both linked with the main event for some time, but it was Al Iaquinta who was eventually confirmed for the title showdown.
When the pair finally locked horns, rather predictably, it was Khabib who came out on top with the 29-year-old comfortably taking a decision victory on all three of the judges’ scorecards.
With MMA still viewed as a barbarian sport by many in the upper echelons of Irish society, Conor McGregor has never received a hero’s welcome home after any of his achievements within the UFC. However, it seems that in Dagestan the significance of Nurmagomedov’s accomplishment is fully appreciated with the ‘Eagle’ receiving a phenomenal welcome having returned to his native land.
Here is video footage of the large crowd gathering at the airport to greet Khabib pic.twitter.com/tD4is4WRnW
— Karim Zidan (@ZidanSports) 9 апреля 2018 г.