Khabib Nurmagomedov mauls Michael Johnson, slams Conor McGregor after the fight
Khabib Nurmagomedov made his case for the next shot at the lightweight title after absolutely mauling Michael Johnson at UFC 205.
It was a long-awaited performance for the Russian lightweight against a top 10 opponent after injuries sidelined him for two years before returning earlier this year.
Nurmagomedov started slow after engaging in a bit of a striking war with Johnson early as the Blackzilian fighter landed a series of stinging combinations to the head and body. At one point it appeared that Johnson even had Nurmagomedov rattled, which forced the Russian to press forward to engage in a takedown.
Nurmagomedov had to fight to get Johnson to the ground, but once the fight hit the mat, the fight shifted course dramatically.
With Johnson trapped against the cage, Nurmagomedov started dropping sledgehammers from the top as he absolutely battered this opponent with punches. Johnson did a good job surviving the round, but Nurmagomedov definitely had him wobbled and hurt with every punch that landed.
As the second round got underway, Johnson resisted the takedown momentarily, but eventually Nurmagomedov got inside and latched onto his legs to bring the fight to the mat again.
Nurmagomedov immediately passed Johnson's defense and started bludgeoning him with punches that had to feel like bricks being dropped from above. There were a few moments where it appeared like the fight could have been stopped, but referee John McCarthy allowed the action to continue.
Somehow Johnson made it to the third round, but Nurmagomedov made him pay for it after another monstrous takedown before pinning him against the cage and just mauling him once again.
Finally, as if he was being merciful to his opponent, Nurmagomedov snatched Johnson's arm, wrapping it behind his back with a kimura and getting the submission.
The stoppage came at 2:31 in round three.
After the fight, Nurmagomedov made no bones about what he wants next as he called for a lightweight title shot while slamming featherweight champion Conor McGregor, who is competing in the main event at UFC 205.
“I understand how crazy PR machine is. Beginning of the year, your guy tap like chicken, end of year he fight for the title,” Nurmagomedov said referencing McGregor's submission loss to Nate Diaz in March.
With a 24-0 record, it's hard to deny Nurmagomedov the next shot at the title against whoever wins between McGregor and Eddie Alvarez on Saturday night.