Khabib Nurmagomedov, the undefeated and undisputed lightweight champion of UFC managed to grab the title on this day exactly two years ago when he went on to defeat Al Iaquinta at the main event of UFC 223. After stripping Conor McGregor of the lightweight title, the 155 lbs strap remained without a titleholder for quite a long period of time. However, Khabib Nurmagomedov, who was already on a 9-fight-win streak, decided to fight for the title but was left without any potential opponent.
Initially, Tony Ferguson was offered the fight but could not make the weight and former featherweight champion Max Holloway saw a similar fate, a few days later. However, things were back on track when Al Iaquinta accepted the fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov for the vacant UFC title and saved the day for UFC fans.
Khabib Nurmagomedov was running out of opponents when No. 11-ranked lightweight contender Al Iaquinta stepped up against him at the main event of UFC 223. Despite being an underdog, Al Iaquinta went the distance with Khabib and did not let the Dagestani fighter finish him. However, that didn’t save him from being mauled by Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Khabib dictated the flow of the fight and mauled Al Iaquinta throughout the five rounds, before wearing the lightweight title on his shoulders. However, the UFC lightweight champion also praised Al Iaquinta for going to the distance with him. Before Al, Khabib went on to defeat Edson Barboza and Michael Johnson but none of them was as effective as Al Iaquinta, Khabib Nurmagomedov said. After defeating Al Iaquinta for the title, Khabib Nurmagomedov successfully retained it against Conor McGregor (UFC 229) and Dustin Poirier (UFC 242).