Khabib claims Justin Gaethje 'gave up' in defeat at UFC 254

Khabib Nurmagomedov claims Justin Gaethje ‘gave up’ and ‘was broken mentally’ during his submission defeat by the Russian at UFC 254 last year

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated Justin Gaethje on Fight Island last year 
  • Russian remained undefeated in second-round submission of American  
  • He believes Gaethje was beaten mentally above anything he did physically 

Khabib Nurmagomedov believes Justin Gaethje ‘gave up’ against him during last year’s defeat on Fight Island. 

The Russian submitted his challenger in the second round to remain undefeated before emotionally declaring his retirement from the sport. 

And Khabib thinks he broke the American’s will before choking him out to move 29-0 and underlining his status as the dominant lightweight of his era. 

Khabib Nurmagomedov (left) believes Justin Gaethje (right) ‘gave up’ against him  

He told MMAMania: ‘You may not see this, but I felt it: He gave up. I mean, his will was broken. 

‘He gave up mentally. I don’t think that I won this fight physically, but rather mentally.’

Gaethje had been on a four-fight winning streak and earned the title shot with an impressive fifth-round stoppage win over Tony Ferguson.  

Khabib retired after the victory and now says he feels Gaethje’s will was broken 

The Russian has retired and seems adamant that he will not be returning to the octagon 

The American managed to land some leg kicks in the first round but despite his wrestling pedigree, found himself taken down by the Dagestani. 

It did not take long in the second round for Khabib to sink in the rear-naked choke and clearly the Russian thinks he had an edge mentally. 

Gaethje is yet to fight again since the defeat last year but could be just one win from a title shot again given the uncertain landscape of the division. 

Dustin Poirier is likely to rematch Conor McGregor in a trilogy fight next rather than fight for the title, so the door is open for Gaethje to earn another opportunity to win the belt.  

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