UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has sent a subtle jab in the direction of his controversial rival by saying that Dustin Poirier turned out to be a far tougher opponent than the Irishman.
The 30-year-old praised Poirier for his physical strength and incredible fighting skills, stressing that he exerted much more energy to defeat him than he did in the fight against the Irishman last year.
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“Poirier is physically strong. I didn’t expect him to be that slithery,” Nurmagomedov said.
“I was well prepared for his guillotine choke and even allowed him to grab neck making him spend his energy and power. But I needed to recapture the initiative. Poirier turned out to be a very serious opponent, by far tougher than McGregor.”
Nurmagomedov returned to the octagon last weekend to defeat interim lightweight champion Poirier in a dominant performance at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi.
The Russian sat out a lengthy suspension given for the infamous post-fight melee which marred Nurmagomedov’s victory over McGregor last October.
By defeating Poirier, Khabib extended his unbeaten record to 28-0 and the fighter said he is targeting a 30-0 record before retirement.