Khabib Nurmagomedov‘s fight with Conor McGregor only lasted four rounds because the former wanted it that way according to American Kickboxing Academy head coach Javier Mendez.

Nurmagomedov recently submitted Justin Gaethje with a triangle choke in the second round of their UFC 254 headliner this past weekend. Daniel Cormier would later reveal Nurmagomedov applied the chokehold so that he wouldn’t hurt Gaethje in front of his parents who were in attendance.

The same cannot be said for Nurmagomedov’s submission win over McGregor at UFC 229 two years ago. “The Eagle” would triumph over the Irishman in their heated grudge match with a neck crank in the fourth round.

And as per Mendez, it could have ended sooner — if not for the fact that Nurmagomedov wanted to punish McGregor.

“I gather Khabib likes Justin a lot because he finished him sooner than he would’ve with most people,” Mendez told SunSport. “He likes to punish people a bit, ground and pound them. But Justin’s parents were there and he knew Justin wouldn’t tap and he didn’t want to break his arm in front of his parents.

“Khabib purposely let Conor go longer, he purposely stood with him, he wanted to punish him. Just because Conor went four rounds it doesn’t mean Khabib had a tougher time trying to finish him – Khabib wanted to punish Conor, he didn’t want to do that with Justin.”

It’s certainly not out of the question even though many observers do feel McGregor deserves credit for taking the fight that far as well as winning the third round.

In the end, it didn’t matter as he eventually lost to Nurmagomedov similar to 28 other opponents.

Do you believe that Nurmagomedov prolonged his fight with McGregor on purpose?