This is where being a prodigious athlete has almost worked against Pettis, he has not been forced to actually develop a game that functions technically and so now with his athleticism slipping, and the overall metagame shifting from when he was at his peak, he is now ill equipped to win fights against elite lightweight competition.
Nurmagomedov outpointed Iaquinta 50-44, 50-43 and 50-43 on the three judges' scorecards. He fights Michael Chiesa in the latest instalment of his return to the division after a particularly ill-advised sojourn down at featherweight which ended in him losing to the new headliner, Max Holloway, in an interim title contest.
Ferguson withdrew from UFC 223 late last week, after incurring a knee injury. "All technicalities, we will figure out after the fight".
There's going to be a balance that needs to be struck, because the UFC doesn't want to be seen to be profiting on the pain of their employees, but it's hard to shake the feeling that we'll be seeing McGregor and Nurmagomedov face off before the year is through.
White will be in New Orleans to root for Rousey at pro wrestling's signature event. This inability is further exacerbated by his willingness to sit in guard and seek out armbars and triangles, not that he is poor at these but they enable your opponent to smash you with elbows.
Nurmagomedov made the cut and then dismantled Barboza over three rounds to once again set up the fight with Ferguson. "But I'm like, 'I don't know if they're going to open the door, and they're going to all come in.' They're obviously not directly after me, but I'm just caught in this scenario, so I don't know". It's only unimpressive in the context of how Nurmagomedov normally destroys people. He used takedowns in the first, second and fifth rounds that led to repeated blows to the back of the head that cleared the way to his first UFC title. But she left to cheers and a champion then and was clearly the people's choice as she walked to the octagon five months later in Brooklyn. "But we don't know about money too because me vs. Georges St-Pierre is going to be a big fight". Chiesa's striking on the other hand leaves a lot to be desired.
It was still rough, though. The same belt UFC announcer Bruce Buffer had referred to earlier in the evening as the "undisputed lightweight championship of the world".
The 29-year-old called for former two-weight belt holder Georges St Pierre next, although, divisive Irishman McGregor lurks in the background.
Nurmagomedov was the clear fan favorite - fans dotted the arena wearing papakhas, a hat that that looks like a powdered wig native to his homeland in Dagestan - and chanted "Khabib!"
On Saturday, Aubin-Mercier proved that he's there by demolishing Evan Dunham in less than a minute.