Khabib Nurmagomedov took aim at Conor McGregor after ending a dramatic week on a high by defeating late replacement Al Iaquinta via unanimous decision to succeed the controversial Irishman as the UFC’s new lightweight champion.
The unbeaten Nurmagomedov claimed a 50-44, 50-43, 50-43 victory at the UFC 223 main event at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The 29-year-old Russian took the title which was stripped from McGregor on Thursday, before the Irishman was charged with assault following a backstage disturbance at the media day ahead of the event.
McGregor handed himself in to police after footage emerged online in which he appeared to throw a hand truck at a bus taking rival fighters away from the Barclays Center.
McGregor, who last fought when he was beaten by Floyd Mayweather in a boxing bout in August, has not fought in the Octagon since winning his belt in November 2016.
Speaking after his victory, Nurmagomedov said: “Where’s Conor? You want to fight with bus? Iaquinta is real Brooklyn gangster.”
UFC president Dana White, who had labelled the McGregor incident “one of the most disgusting things that’s happened in the history of the company”, revealed he had talked with the Irishman.
“I think there is mutual respect between us,” said White at a press conference after the event, adding he did not currently have a plan for how to deal with the fighter.
“I had so many things thrown at me this week to focus on the show was insane. We’ll get back and we’ll focus on Conor McGregor.
“He didn’t come to New York to do anything with me. He jumped on a plane with all those guys to come to New York for the Khabib thing. I didn’t even know Conor was here.
“We had talked about him fighting in September. I don’t know (if that’s still possible).”
While McGregor’s behaviour may have overshadowed Nurmagomedov’s bout, the Russian also had to cope with having to prepare for three separate opponents.
He had been due to face Tony Ferguson, who suffered a freak knee injury, while Ferguson’s replacement Max Holloway was deemed not fit to fight.
Iaquinta, who weighed in 0.2lbs over the lightweight limit, stepped in at the 11th hour, and showed plenty of heart to last the five rounds, although he could not trouble Nurmagomedov.
Provided by Press Association Sport
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