Morning Report: In the wake of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s retirement, Michael Chandler calls for bout with Justin Gaethje

Morning Report: In the wake of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s retirement, Michael Chandler calls for bout with Justin Gaethje

This weekend, at UFC 254, Khabib Nurmagomedov submitted Justin Gaethje with a triangle choke to retain his lightweight title. Following the victory, Nurmagomedov then announced his retirement from the sport, citing the death of his father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov earlier this year due to complications from COVID-19. The announcement came as a surprise as rumors had been constant that Khabib would fight one more time before hanging up his gloves, but in his post-fight speech, Nurmagomedov revealed he had made a promise to his mother to only fight this one last time. Khabib’s announcement came as a surprise to most, including former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler who was sitting cageside for the bout.

“The main event did not go how I thought it was gonna go and we now have Khabib retiring at 29-0,” Chandler told The Schmo after the fight. “We all thought he was gonna hang on until 30-0. Kinda threw us all for a loop so we’ll see what happens. . .

“When Khabib did retire, you could kinda tell (UFC President Dana White) didn’t have any idea and I think nobody had any idea. I didn’t either, but if you really think about what Khabib has gone through, you didn’t just lose your dad, your coach, your mentor, your hero, the being that you look up to here on Earth. He lost everything in that man when he lost his father a couple months ago. The pressure, the weight that he must have felt, as Dana said, we were very lucky to watch him compete one more time tonight, let alone ever again.

“I think the consensus was all of us thought he would fight this fight and one more fight but when he made a vow, he said my word is my word and he put it away, and put his gloves in the middle of the octagon. I think Dana was just as surprised as everyone else but I know it puts me in a really nice, interesting situation coming right into the organization and we have a vacant lightweight title.”

While the lightweight title is not technically vacant yet, it does appear to be headed that direction soon, which opens up a number of possibilities for all the top contenders in the division. That includes Chandler who recently signed with the UFC and served as the backup for UFC 254’s lightweight title bout. It was a big statement from the UFC with regards to how they view Chandler and in the wake of a suddenly open division, means Chandler’s first UFC fight could have huge implications. And though there are a lot of options that could make sense for that first bout, Chandler has his sights set on one man in particular: the guy Khabib just demolished.

“There’s a lot of different options right now,” Chandler said. “I think with the way the landscape looked – you had Gaethje and Khabib with Khabib as the lightweight champion after tonight – I was thinking Tony Ferguson. But now you’ve got Jon Anik and Justin Gaethje talking after the fight. Gaethje is a gamer. Justin Gaethje is one of the greatest competitors that we will ever get to see grace the octagon . . . (and) he said he’s ready in six to eight weeks, he’s ready to fight again. He didn’t take that much damage in this fight which is great. I’m ready in six to eight weeks, he’s ready in six to eight weeks, there’s a Tony Ferguson fight, there is The Ultimate Fighter coming up, I know that’s gonna be a big debut for ESPN. Culminating in a lightweight title shot seems like nonstop action for ESPN so I would love to be a part of that as well. So we’ll see what happens.”

After his loss, Gaethje did state a willingness to get back into the cage soon, noting that he took very little damage in his submission loss. Gaethje threw out the idea of a possible fight with Conor McGregor for the vacant title, however, McGregor and Dustin Poirier seem to be headed towards a rematch with one another early next year, meaning a fight with Chandler could be the next best option. Chandler certainly hopes so, saying that of all the fights he could get, Gaethje would be his top choice by far, even over the proposed fight with Tony Ferguson.

“At this point, with the way everything changed tonight, I think a fight with Justin Gaethje has always excited me more than anybody in the entire division,” Chandler concluded. “More than Conor or Khabib, even though the mystique of beating Khabib and taking his 0 is something special, or fighting Conor on the highest grossing card of the year and making the most money, the red panty night as he likes to call it. Those are all wonderful but when it comes to just straight competitor versus competitor, hand to hand combat, mano a mano, small-town blue-collar American wrestler versus small-town American blue-collar wrestler, that’s me and Justin Gaethje stepping into the cage against each other, so that’s exciting to me.”

MUST-READ STORIES

Farewell. Khabib Nurmagomedov announces his retirement following emotional victory over Justin Gaethje in UFC 254 main event.

Reactions. Conor McGregor, Jon Jones and more react to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s sudden retirement at UFC 254.

Champ. Khabib Nurmagomedov’s head coach reveals injuries, sickness star faced during UFC 254 training camp.

GOAT. After UFC 254, Daniel Cormier declares Khabib Nurmagomedov ‘the greatest fighter we’ve ever seen’.

Big mad. Jon Jones scoffs at Khabib Nurmagomedov taking over as pound-for-pound best, much less becoming the GOAT.

Next. Justin Gaethje: If Conor McGregor wants to ‘bounce out and get the belt,’ I’m here.

VIDEO STEW

UFC 254 Post-Fight Show.

UFC 254 Post-Fight Press Conference.

UFC’s tribute to Abdulmanap.

Khabib’s post-fight speech is really touching.

Fighters predict Thiago Santos vs. Glover Texeireira.

LISTEN UP

6th Round. Immediate post-fight reaction to UFC 254 and Khabib’s retirement.

Severe MMA. Discussing UFC 254, Khabib’s retirement, and Bellator.

SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

One of the greatest of all time.

Everything he set out to do – he did.

Congrats @TeamKhabib pic.twitter.com/yjYjWZcXxr

— UFC (@ufc) October 25, 2020

The champ.

Только что опубликовано фото https://t.co/mI8Fv7sbdF

— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) October 24, 2020

Respect.

Undisputed

— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) October 24, 2020

Congratulations to @Teamkhabib for his amazing performance last night and a career as perfect as you can get as an athlete! pic.twitter.com/2zwVgCMlRX

— Georges St-Pierre (@GeorgesStPierre) October 25, 2020

Unpredictability is a hallmark of MMA and this number is so improbable, so insane. Never gave up a touchdown. Pitched a perfect game every time. Never gave up pole position. Never a goal in his net. & his last was his best. Predictable as the sunrise.@TeamKhabib, obviously GOAT pic.twitter.com/G0FyAqcvMU

— Sean Shelby (@seanshelby) October 25, 2020

Y’all already know how I feel about it but some others out there who’s legacy is cheating would also their name mentioned in this conversation. How do you feel about that? Right now, it’s @TeamKhabib and @GeorgesStPierre as the only two in this conversation. https://t.co/tfRdET0cJC

— Josh Thomson (@THEREALPUNK) October 25, 2020

Congratulations on an amazing career @khabib_nurmagomedov .I remember when we shared the same training room in Vegas early in your @ufc career, and to be able to see all your journey after was amazing. You are a legend & represent grappling and MMA w/ honor, heart….(CONTINUE)

— Demian Maia (@demianmaia) October 25, 2020

(From previous post)… and great technique. Wasn’t any different in your last fight and your retirement, always for the right reasons, a true warrior in a game where honor has been long forgotten by many.

— Demian Maia (@demianmaia) October 25, 2020

Congrats on your amazing career @khabib_nurmagomedov you will truly be missed. I know your dad is proud of the amazing son he has raised. This year has been a year of the greatest combat Sports athletes of all time retiring in front of the world. #wrestlingislife pic.twitter.com/5BzCLc3iOG

— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) October 25, 2020

I think the craziest thing was that we all expect, and somewhat took for granted that Khabib would retire at 30-0…seemed like a clean number, especially with a potential GSP tussle in talks. Threw us all for a loop. Respect to the lightweight GOAT. #UFC254

— Michael Chandler (@MikeChandlerMMA) October 25, 2020

DC making his stance known.

This isn’t true,when Jones fought OSP I showered him with praise. I actually always say what a great fighter he is. Every major sport eliminates athletes from the GOAT conversation with bad test. Why is the UFC different. I believe Khabib is the best. IMO , you don’t have 2 agree https://t.co/QM9Vl3T7PQ

— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) October 25, 2020

I agree completely , he should not have been given a loss. But the point I am making is that in that moment he’s finishing the fight, dominating even to throw a strike that could be viewed as illegal is a mistake. minor, but a mistake. That’s what I mean. Khabib made 0 mistakes https://t.co/MCRLSGpAcW

— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) October 25, 2020

Barry is probably the best baseball player of all time. Sadly he left too many questions behind. He isn’t in the hall of fame and not in that GOAT convo. This is where Jon and Anderson will sit. You can’t have bad test! Ever! https://t.co/HXw6gab4Gw pic.twitter.com/tvCYyYMrDQ

— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) October 25, 2020

Can you imagine how bad Khabib would beat Nate?

None of these guys know jiu jitsu Poirier
Gaethje
McGregor
I ain’t eating this shit up like yallllll

— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) October 25, 2020

29 and 1

— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) October 25, 2020

Ssshhh….. pic.twitter.com/I1bAZCPl9F

— Josh Thomson (@THEREALPUNK) October 25, 2020

Fishing for a fight.

Hey Robert Whittaker enjoy your end of year, you deserved. When you come back we can do amazing fight

— Paulo Costa ( Borrachinha ) (@BorrachinhaMMA) October 25, 2020

BJJ guys are hilarious. As if the triangle choke isn’t a judo move in the first place.

I find it funny that someone who used to say, “If Sambo were easy it would be called Jiu Jitsu” wins the final fight in his career with Jiu Jitsu, and then retires.

— AJ Agazarm (@TheFloridaBoy) October 25, 2020

FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Chase Hooper (9-1-1) vs. Peter Barrett (11-4); UFC 256, Dec. 12.

Tyson Nam (20-11-1) vs. Matt Schnell (14-5); UFC Fight Night, Dec. 19.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Whether or not you think Khabib is the GOAT, you can’t deny he’s in the conversation now. What a singular athlete. Good for him to walk away but I’m legitimately sad we’ll never see him fight again.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow!

EXIT POLL

Poll
Is Khabib the GOAT?

  • Yes

  • No

vote
view results
  • 51%
    Yes
    (276 votes)

  • 48%
    No
    (257 votes)

533 votes total

Vote Now

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