One of the most widely debated decisions in the last decade has been lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s win over Gleison Tibau at UFC 148 back in 2012.
In what was just his second fight with the UFC, a 23-year-old Nurmagomedov emerged victorious, winning via 30-27 scorecards from all three judges.
However, many were shocked by the decision. Tibau looked confused. UFC commentator Joe Rogan also sounded surprised as the winner was announced. Of the six media scores on MMADecisions.com, five of them scored the bout in favor of Tibau, with four of them being 30-27 scorecards.
The statistics are even more damning. Nurmagomedov failed to land a single takedown out of 13 attempts as his Brazilian foe defended each one. Tibau, on the other hand, landed one in six attempts. Tibau also landed more overall strikes, as well as 32% of his significant strikes attempted (28 of 87) compared to Nurmagomedov’s 24% (25 of 101).
Some point to the fact that Nurmagomedov was the one advancing and trying to make things happen, which is why he got the win. However, it’s still a huge debate, primarily because “The Eagle” is known for his undefeated record today.
Despite coming away from the contest with a controversial loss, Tibau still views the fight as one of his best moments with the promotion. He’s friends with Nurmagomedov now as well, and even jokes around with him that he actually won the fight.
“A good moment for me is… Kurt Pellegrino, Jamie Varner, and Khabib,” Tibau told The Body Lock’s John Hyon Ko. “I take this time, it’s a very, very good time for me. Everybody talks. Now Khabib knows my fight, me, Khabib? I win this fight.
“Now, I’m friends with Khabib, and I play and talk with Khabib, you lose this fight. ‘Uh, yeah, maybe, maybe, maybe.’ Because, tough fight, you know? I mean, broke for takedowns, takedowns on Khabib, more punches, everybody talk that I win this fight. I think this moment was very important for my time with the UFC. Very good fights with Jamie Varner, Kurt Pellegrino, good time, good, good performances.”
It’s now been over seven years since that fight, with Nurmagomedov being the current 155-pound king. Tibau, on the other hand, will be competing at Battlefield FC 2 on July 27 when he takes on fellow American Top Team member Will Brooks in the main event.
You can watch the full interview below where he discusses the Brooks fight and more: