Khabib Nurmagomedov famously enjoys verbally taunting his opponents during a fight and it turns out his win over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 was no different.
In the past, the UFC lightweight champion has been heard telling opponents “you need to give up” while hammering away with punches. During his highly anticipated showdown with Conor McGregor in 2018, Nurmagomedov was on top of the Irish superstar saying “we’re talking now … let’s talk now” while simultaneously blasting him with strikes.
According to UFC president Dana White, Nurmagomedov was actually doing the same exact thing to Gaethje during their fight but no one actually heard the contents of that conversation until now.
“Khabib was telling me this when I was with him last night, and I didn’t know this, maybe you guys knew this but all the stuff that him and Gaethje were talking about during that fight,” White said during the UFC Fight Island 7 post-fight press conference. “He told me last night that he’s never been hit or kicked harder ever in a fight than by Gaethje.
“Gaethje hit him with a couple of shots and then he thought Gaethje looked kind of weird and he pointed at him and said ‘you have jetlag’ in the middle of the fight. Gaethje said ‘no, I don’t’ and hit him with an uppercut and a left hook, he said.”
Ahead of the fight, Nurmagomedov and Gaethje actually showed each other tremendous respect without any real trash talk shared between them before actually meeting in the octagon.
Once they were battling it out with the lightweight title on the line, the undefeated Russian was happy to verbally spar with his opponent before eventually reminding Gaethje of his superiority.
“Khabib said something to him again and he leg kicked him,” White said. “Then I guess when Khabib took him down and was on top of him, he said ‘now what are you going to do?’”
It turns out Gaethje couldn’t do much because Nurmagomedov eventually wrapped up a triangle choke that put him to sleep in the second round.
Of course even the submission was a calculated choice because Nurmagomedov’s longtime teammate and friend Daniel Cormier later revealed that he used the triangle choke so Gaethje wouldn’t possibly suffer an injury with his parents watching him compete at cage side.
Needless to say, White was impressed by Nurmagomedov’s performance that night not to mention his ability to out talk anybody during the fight.
“He’s telling me all this sh*t that those two were talking about during the fight,” White said with a laugh. “First of all, the fight didn’t even go that long. I don’t know how they would have that much of a conversation!”