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Khabib Nurmagomedov Denounces Justin Gaethje’s Call For a UFC Lightweight Title Shot

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Even though he retired from the UFC in October 2020, Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0) has a lot to say about the next title shot in the organization’s lightweight division.

Public Criticism

On Thursday, mmafighting.com reported, “The Eagle” publicly criticized Justin Gaethje’s recent call for a title shot after his performance at UFC 268 on November 6. Nurmagomedov commented on ESPN’s Instagram post about “The Highlight’s” (23-3) call to be a lightweight title shot contender.

“In the last eight fights, you got finished three times Justin. You had an opportunity to become champion, but you fell asleep,” Nurmagomedov wrote, adding a sleeping face emoji.

“Islam [Makhachev] is on the 9-win streak, three fights in 2021, and all finishes. Just shut up and admit that Islam deserves this title shot, not you.”

Nurmagomedov is a coach for Makhachev. He is also the longest-reigning UFC Lightweight Champion, holding the title from April 2018 to March 2021. In Nurmagomedov’s last fight at UFC 254, he beat Gaethje in round two via triangle choke.

Gaethje Beats Chandler

On his first return to the Octagon since the defeat, Gaethje successfully beat Michael Chandler (22-7) by decision last weekend at UFC 268. Now ranked the number three lightweight in the UFC rankings, Gaethje’s requested the title shot publicly since the win.

Makhachev’s Rise

Unbeatable since 2016, Makhachev is on a 9-win streak with his most recent win against Dan Hooker (21-11) by submission at UFC 267. The 30-year-old is currently ranked number 4 in the UFC lightweight division.

Nurmagomedov Comments on State of Lightweight Division

In June 2021, Nurmagomedov commented about the state of the UFC lightweight division on Essentially Sports. The Dagestani fighter stated that athletes from three countries are a major part of the 155 lbs division. He mentioned Russia, Brazil, and the USA as the most dominating countries of the division. 

“There are a lot of promising talents all over the division from these countries as well as established contenders”. He compared the state of the division as similar to a world war.


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I am a proud MMA Momma to a professional MMA fighter, a Golden Gloves champ boxer and a Jiu Jitsu princess. I have a unique perspective on the sport of MMA and use my Journalism-Print training to share my experiences.