Chael Sonnen has backed up Khabib Nurmagomedov’s story of what went down at the end of his infamous retirement fight against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254.
Khabib submitted ‘the Highlight’ with a triangle choke in the second round. The Dagestani had the opportunity to finish the fight with an armbar but later admitted that he switched to the triangle because didn’t want to break Gaethje’s arm in front of his parents who were in attendance.
‘The Eagle’s’ story has become part of MMA folklore and now Sonnen has given his version of events.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Sonnen said,
“I was a Khabib believer and I didn’t even know how good he was until he fought Gaethje. So Khabib went to his back, went to an armbar, let the armbar go, which he later says is because he saw Justin’s mother in the front row. He knew Justin was gonna want to hug his mother after the fight, so he didn’t break his arm. Many guys will re-manufacture history to make them look good – but I think Khabib was telling the truth, because I saw him let go of that arm. I saw him look into the crowd and let go of that arm.” (h/t SportsKeeda)
That loss was just the third defeat of Gaethje’s career and the only time he’s ever been submitted. Khabib’s undefeated 29-0 record was built upon dominating his opponents and being able to impose his will – particularly on the ground. The story of Khabib letting go of the arm was actually first made public by his former teammate, Daniel Cormier.
In DC’s words,
“He had heard Justin say all week that he would never tap and he didn’t want to hurt him in front of his parents. So he went to the triangle and just kind of put him to sleep.”
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) October 26, 2020
Sonnen’s account of what happened certainly adds credence to what is a truly remarkable series of events. ‘The American Gangster’ has continued to nurture his reputation as one of the most important voices in the sport and recently drew high praise from John Anik.
The UFC play-by-play commentator was asked about who he sees as the best in the business, and singled out Sonnen as being a unique talent.
Speaking to MMA Fighting, Anik said,
‘Chael Sonnen remains just special. People ask me, ‘Man, how do you call 15 fights and go up to host the post-show afterwards?’ Chael Sonnen is how. Chael Sonnen’s energy is how.’
What do you make of Sonnen’s thoughts on the armbar story? Was Khabib telling the truth?
This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM