Justin Gaethje reveals what he told Khabib Nurmagomedov while he was crying on the floor after UFC 254 clash


The two fighters shared a touching moment after Khabib’s victory (Pictures: BT Sport)

Justin Gaethje has revealed what he told Khabib Nurmagomedov as the Russian lay on the floor crying following his stunning victory at UFC 254 on Saturday evening.

Khabib delivered a masterclass at Fight Island, putting his dangerous American opponent to sleep with a triangle choke in the second round, and then created shockwaves when he announced his retirement from the sport.

Khabib was visibly emotional after his win – the first time he had fought since his father passed away – and broke down in tears in the centre of the octagon.

Khabib dropped to his knees after beating Geathje at UFC 254 (Picture: Getty Images)

Despite trying to beat each other up just seconds earlier, the two fighters shared a tender moment as Gaethje consoled Khabib, telling him that his father, Abdulmanap, would have been proud.

Asked what he told Khabib in that moment, Gaethje told BT Sport: ‘I said, “I haven’t had a chance to tell you that I’m so sorry for your Dad’s loss but you just made your father really proud”.’

Khabib paid tribute to Gaethje in his post-match interview and the American is now looking to win the belt that the Russian has vacated – though he still believes the undefeated champ may reconsider his decision.

‘He just retired. I’ve got a job now to get that belt around my waste,’ said the American, who had beaten Tony Ferguson earlier this year to set up the clash with Khabib.

‘He hit me with probably two or three good shots in the head but ultimately when you get choked out you just get a sweet dream and then you’re right back up and there’s really no long-lasting effects from that.

‘I’m young, I’m in shape and I’m not looking to take a long time off. And the belt is on the line… if he retires. He said he retires, he could change his mind tomorrow and I would be totally okay with that.

‘It’s so emotional in there, especially after a fight, after a win, after what he’s been through. The emotions are something else.

Khabib put on a masterclass as he forced Gaethje to tap out (Picture: Getty Images)

‘I feel for him there and I hope that wasn’t a decision that he just made in the moment. I hope he has really thought abut that for a long time because we shouldn’t make any decisions right after a fight.’

On the fight itself, he added: ‘It felt awesome, I felt alive, that’s why I do that. That was going to be a hard man to beat, with what he was fighting with – and what he was fighting for.

‘We all fight for something, but it’s hard to beat that because he was fighting for something special. I was ready, as ready as I’ll ever be, but he was better tonight.’

MORE: Conor McGregor sends message to Khabib Nurmagomedov after shock retirement announcement at UFC Fight Island

MORE: UFC president Dana White reacts to Khabib Nurmagomedov retirement as Jon Jones gives him pound-for-pound crown

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