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Khabib Nurmagomedov reacts to Justin Gaethje’s UFC 249 win: ‘There will always be hungry lions that will breathe down your neck’

The undisputed UFC lightweight king seems impressed by Justin Gaethje.

“The Highlight” took on an always dangerous Tony Ferguson in the main event of UFC 249 — replacing Khabib Nurmagomedov on short notice for an interim title on Saturday night — and dominated Ferguson for four rounds before referee Herb Dean mercifully stopped the bout in the fifth.

Nurmagomedov, unable to face Ferguson since he’s stranded in Russia due to travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, quickly took to social media to post a “no comment” tweet after Ferguson’s loss.

In a following tweet, “The Eagle” congratulated Gaethje for his performance.

Nurmagomedov elaborated his thoughts in a lengthier post in Russian, translated by RT Sport.

“In this sport, and especially in this weight there will always be hungry lions that will breathe down your neck, if you relax, then you’re finished,” Nurmagomedov wrote. “Some leave and others arrive, that’s nothing to be surprised about. But I won’t fall before the shot. We will still fight.”

UFC president Dana White confirmed at the UFC 249 post-fight press conference in Jacksonville, Fla., that Nurmagomedov and Gaethje will unify the lightweight belts next.

Gaethje (22-2) is riding a four-fight knockout streak over James Vick, Edson Barboza, Donald Cerrone and Ferguson, while Nurmagomedov remains undefeated with 28 wins in mixed martial arts, including three championship victories against Al Iaquinta, Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier.

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