Khabib Nurmagomedov did his best to talk Michael Johnson into quitting during their fight at UFC 205.
Nurmagomedov stepped into the octagon Saturday night against Johnson with a point to prove. After a couple of years off due to injury and his last big win against Rafael dos Anjos more than two years ago, Nurmagomedov was focused on reminding everyone who the number one contender in the lightweight division is.
Nurmagomedov told MMA Fighting during his post-fight interview that he tried to talk Johnson into quitting before he took too much damage.
“Yeah I little bit talked with him. Nurmagomedov said. “I told him ‘hey, I have to fight for the title, you know this,’ I told him, ‘I don’t want to smash your face, and I already beat you. You have to give up.”
When Nurmagomedov locked in the fight ending kimura he told Johnson to “be careful’, saying he didn’t want to inflict unnecessary damage or permanent injury on the American.
“I said ‘be careful,’ I’m not only a UFC fighter. I know UFC history. I watch all fight, I think maybe all UFC fights, and I know there are a lot of injuries and everything. Like Nogueira versus Mir, like everything that’s why I take his kimura, I go slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly, Nurmagomedov said. “If you can, you have to say ‘be careful,’ and don’t give crazy damage, because if he broke his arm it would never be the same. That’s why I said be careful.”
Nurmagomedov was clear that he had a lot of respect for Johnson, for not only continuing to fight, but for calling him out and taking the fight in the first place. The native of Dagestan, Russia commended Johnson on his heart and durability.
“He kept fighting. He said nothing. He kept fighting back,” Nurmagomedov said. “He gave me a couple punches. I want to give him respect because he called me out, he took this fight, and I gave him very hard, like 15 punches, and I think a lot of people after this, [would be] finished, but he kept fighting. He’s a great guy, a great fighter. He has very big experience fighting with tough guys, and I want to give him respect.”
Following his impressive and dominant victory most are expecting Nurmagomedov to be next in line for the lightweight title. However, a lot of that is going to depend on what new lightweight champ Conor McGregor decides to do.