“I Finished Him With Triangle Choke” – Khabib Nurmagomedov Explains How His First Fight and Last Fight of His Career Had the Same Result

Published 09/06/2021, 8:48 AM EDT
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – OCTOBER 25: (R-L) Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia takes down Justin Gaethje in their lightweight title bout during the UFC 254 event on October 25, 2020 on UFC Fight Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


The UFC lightweight GOAT, Khabib Nurmagomedov, has had an illustrious MMA career. The ‘Eagle’ mauled all of his opponents throughout his MMA career and retired as an undefeated (29-0) UFC lightweight champion. Ironically, his first and last professional fights had the same outcome.

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Nurmagomedov made his professional MMA debut back in September 2008, under the banner of Combat Sambo Federation Of Ukraine (CSFU). He clashed against Vusal Bayramov at CSFU: Champion League. 

The ‘Eagle’ wasted no time and went for a takedown in the first minute of the opening round. He dominated his opponent and eventually won the fight via submission (triangle choke) in 2:20 minutes of the first round. 

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Recently, Nurmagomedov visited the newly opened wrestling academy by his long-time friend, former UFC two-division champion Daniel Cormier. During the visit, the Dagestani fighter had a sit down with the students of the academy. In this sit-down, the ‘Eagle’ talked about his first and last professional fights.

During the conversation, Nurmagomedov said – “I was very confident, and I asked, how much money they’re gonna give me? You know, but that time, like, two thousand dollars, it was like, very big money for me. They said $2,000, I said, two thousand dollars for one fight! They say yes. Okay, let’s do this, you know. I finished this guy like, first couple minutes, take money, go home, you know…”

“I finish him with triangle choke. Like (x2), my last fight, same thing. I make him sleep. Same thing, like, my first fight and last fight it was triangle choke. Sleep, sleep, go home.” – the ‘Eagle’ on the outcome of his first and last pro fights. 

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Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje: The last chapter of the ‘Eagle’

Nurmagomedov’s last fight was against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 on October 24, 2020. It was a title unification bout, as Gaethje was the interim UFC lightweight champion back then. Meanwhile, it was Nurmagomedov’s third UFC lightweight championship title defense.

Unlike his first professional bout, Gaethje was a formidable opponent. In the first minute of their bout, the pair were more cautious as both fighters are dangerous. Then Gaethje landed some of his signature leg kicks. However, it didn’t slow down the Dagestani fighter.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – OCTOBER 25: (L-R) Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia kicks Justin Gaethje in their lightweight title bout during the UFC 254 event on October 25, 2020 on UFC Fight Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

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The first round ended in Nurmagomedov’s favor as he scored a successful takedown and remained on top of Gaethje for over the last 40 seconds. Then, in the second round, the pair traded strikes for the first minute. However, the ‘Eagle’ scored another takedown, and this time there was no escape for Gaethje.

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Akin to his first professional bout, Nurmagomedov went for a triangle choke in the second round. The Dagestani fighter put Gaethje in a strong triangle choke and put him to sleep. 

Nurmagomedov has claimed 11 submission victories in his MMA career. Five of his submission victories have come via a triangle choke. Thus, there is no doubt that the ‘Eagle’ is an elite submission grappler. 

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Is Khabib Nurmagomedov one of the best grapplers in the UFC lightweight division history?

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Arman Khan

136 articles

Arman Khan is a UFC author for EssentiallySports. He began following combat sports when Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor competed in 'The Money Fight' in 2017. 'The Notorious' attracted Arman to the UFC and he became an ardent fan of professional fighting as he could draw parallels with the action from his combat sports experience and break down techniques such as striking and striking defense lucidly for the casual fans.

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