On April 7, 2018, Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov, 29, of Dagestan, Russia achieved at least two things at “UFC 223.” He maintained his undefeated professional mixed martial arts record and he won the UFC Lightweight Championship title.
“UFC 223” marked the 10th bout and 10th win in the UFC. He now has 26 wins and 0 loss overall.
Headlining “UFC 223,” Nurmagomedov competed against Al Iaquinta, 30, of New York City, New York in a one-sided five five-minute round lightweight championship affair. Had Iaquinta won, he would not be able to wear the UFC Lightweight Championship belt because he was 0.2 pounds over the weight limit during the weigh-in.
Nurmagomedov defeated Iaquinta via unanimous decision. But the New Yorker impressed the global mixed martial arts community by lasting five five-minute rounds in the cage with the famed Dagestani fighter.
All three judges scored the bout 50-43 in favor of Nurmagomedov. This makes him the first ever Dagestani champion of the UFC.
The first two UFC fighters to lose to Nurmagomedov were Kamal Shalorus and Gleison Tibau. Nurmagomedov submitted Shalorus via rear-naked choke at “UFC on FX 1” on January 20, 2012 and defeated Tibau via unanimous decision at “UFC 148” on July 7, 2012.
Nurmagomedov defeated Abel Trujillo at “UFC 160” on May 25, 2013, Pat Healy at “UFC 165” on September 21, 2013 and Rafael dos Santos at “UFC on Fox 11” on April 2014. These three victories were via unanimous decision.
In 2015, Nurmagomedov went on hiatus. He returned to the cage on April 16, 2016 and knocked out Darrel Horcher via punches at “UFC on Fox 19.”
On November 12, 2016, Nurmagomedov submitted Michael Johnson via kimura at “UFC 2015.” On December 30, 2017, Edson Barboza lost to Nurmagomedov via unanimous decision at “UFC 219.”
After losing to Nurmagomedov at “UFC 223,” Iaquinta now has 13 wins, 4 losses and 1 draw. The bout was Iaquinta’s 11th UFC fight.
Iaquinta was originally set to fight Paul Felder at “UFC 223.” Their bout was cancelled when the former was officially declared as the replacement of reigning UFC Featherweight Champion Max Holloway as Nurmagomedov’s opponent in the main event.
After cutting weight to face Nurmagomedov in the lightweight division, Holloway was declared medically unfit to fight. Anthony Pettis and Felder were both tapped to replace Holloway before Iaquinta was officially selected as Nurmagomedov’s opponent.
Here is the post-fight interview with Nurmagomedov inside the cage: