Khabib Nurmagomedov has stopped Dustin Poirier by submission in the third round at UFC 242, retaining his lightweight title and unbeaten record.
After dominating Poirier with wrestling and grappling throughout Saturday’s bout at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island, Nurmagomedov (28-0) landed a rear naked choke and forced Poirier to tap midway through the third.
The Dagestan-born Russian fighter returned almost flawlessly for his first fight since beating Conor McGregor in October 2018. Nurmagomedov has stopped three of his last five opponents by submission, and he is challenging Jon Jones and Amanda Nunes for unofficial pound-for-pound supremacy in mixed martial arts (MMA).
“MMA is about respect, this is what we showed tonight,” Nurmagomedov said.
Nurmagomedov felt disrespected by McGregor and the Irish star’s friends before their bout, and that’s why he jumped into the crowd to brawl with the entourage after his victory last year. Nurmagomedov was suspended and fined by the Nevada Athletic Commission, and Poirier won an interim lightweight title during Nurmagomedov’s forced absence.
“There has been a lot of pressure on me recently,” Nurmagomedov said. “I now need a couple of days rest.”