Following Khabib Nurmagomedov’s submission victory over Justin Gaethje on Saturday, his teammate Daniel Cormier has come out with a crazy story about why Khabib chose the triangle choke over the armbar to finish Gaethje.
Incredibly, Khabib didn’t want to hurt Gaethje in front of his parents, who were watching live on Fight Island:
DC was told by Khabib that he didn’t wanna hurt Justin Gaethje with the armbar in front of his parents
— Spinnin Backfist (@SpinninBackfist) October 26, 2020
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If this was anyone other than Khabib, I wouldn’t believe it for a second. But Khabib has shown himself over his career to be a thoughtful and sensitive sort of killer who is big on integrity. To transition from an armbar (his late father’s favourite submission) into a triangle choke because he had heard Gaethje say in pre-fight interviews he would never tap and so wanted to avoided snapping his arm in front his parents? That’s just such so damn nice and considerate, especially when you’re essentially in a fight for your life in there.
So rather than break Gaethje’s arm in front of his parents, he maneauvered into a triangle instead and put Gaethje to sleep (even though Gaethje did end up tapping, the ref just weirdly missed it) for a more peaceful, less brutal finish. Crazy to think that was on his mind in the middle of one of the biggest fights of his career (and his last, it turns out, as he announced his retirement immediately after the fight).
Khabib actually had a habit of having full-on conversations with his opponents mid-fight:
“Let’s talk now!”
You know you’re in trouble when @TeamKhabib starts talking 🦅
— UFC (@ufc) October 21, 2020
He seemed to have more respect for Gaethje though by finishing him as soon as he saw the opening:
— Streetfight Banned-cho (@streetfitebncho) October 25, 2020
No mauling, no shit-talking, just a calm, quick finish to maintain the mutual respect these men have for each other:
— UFC (@ufc) October 24, 2020
Will Khabib actually keep his retirement promise, unlike so many other UFC fighters before him? I hope not. But I think when a man of his integrity says he’s done, then he’s done. What a way to go out!
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