Reflections on a truly great athlete and career

Reflections on a truly great athlete and career: The great Khabib Nurmagomedov fought another brilliant fight last night to take another dominant victory over the very dangerous Justin Gaethje. As he has so many many times, Mr Nurmagomedov was able to neutralize his opponent with superb takedowns and ground control. As with all great athletes, opponents know what to expect but are simply unable to stop it. Many people describe Mr Nurmagomedov as just a wrestler but he showed last night that he has a truly superb MMA skill set. Mr Gaethje is himself a fine wrestler, but as Georges St Pierre showed so many times, wrestling/takedowns in an MMA fight is a very different skill than wrestling/takedowns in a pure wrestling match. He integrated his striking into takedowns superbly and was able to make the takedowns look easy against an excellent wrestler. Not only that, he showed he has excellent submissions skills and the control skills to set them up with beautiful mount control leading into a superb mounted triangle (when was the last time you saw a mounted triangle used to finish an MMA fight? Forget about a UFC title fight!) The application was flawless and resulted in a quick strangle to unconsciousness (I have no idea what the referee was doing as Mr Gaethje clearly tapped twice and Mr Nurmagomedov did what he is supposed to do – hold on until the referee stops the action). Even more impressive is the fact that Mr Nurmagomedov essentially won the fight twice that night – he had total control from the mount at the end of round one and only the bell saved his opponent. Then he went out in round two and repeated the action and got back into mount and finished in spectacular style. To do this twice – once per round against such a dangerous opponent is truly admirable. Through his career this remarkable man has always conducted himself with honor and a straight forward no-nonsense attitude. He stood up for his team mates and what he believed was right and never let himself be swayed by what others wanted or demanded. What a privilege to watch such an athlete in action and see him finish an unbeaten career and forge the path he wanted on his terms.

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