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Joe Rogan releases statement on UFC 223 commentary

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Joe Rogan releases a statement on his commentary for Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Al Iaquinta.

Khabib Nurmagomedov dominated Al Iaquinta to become lightweight champion at UFC 223 this past weekend, winning two 10-8 rounds and leaving Brooklyn’s Barclays Center with barely a scratch.

But, during the main event, longtime UFC commentator Joe Rogan was heavily critical of Khabib’s performance despite the Dagestani cruising to a unanimous decision and beating Iaquinta at his own game in rounds three and four.

Midway through the bout, ‘The Eagle’ surprised many fans — and clearly, Joe Rogan — when he decided to keep the fight standing and fight toe-to-toe with ‘Raging Al’ in center of the Octagon. Nurmagomedov showcased the versatility of his game, peppering Iaquinta with the jab and beating his opponent to a bloody pulp.

Rogan however, saw holes in Khabib’s boxing and believes the newly-crowned champ should have been more dominant against a short-notice replacement in Al Iaquinta.

The podcast host and comedian released a statement addressing the criticism of his commentary on Saturday night.

It is insanely rare to have a fighter as dominant as @khabib_nurmagomedov. In one of the most talent stacked divisions to go 25 and 0 is incredible, but to do it without even having a rough moment in a fight is completely unheard of. The closest thing to adversity he’s had to face in the Octagon before Saturday was one solid punch that was landed by Michael Johnson in a fight that was otherwise a horrifically one-sided mauling. When I’m commentating on someone that dominant I am constantly looking for cracks in their armor, and on Saturday night we saw the first of those cracks exposed by an incredibly game Al Iaquinta. Most people, myself included, expected the highly favored Khabib to rag doll his last minute opponent the way he’s done to everyone else he faced in the Octagon, and that was the case in the early going, but as the fight got into the later rounds Al was able to keep the fight standing and we saw some possible flaws in Khabib’s defense. Make no mistake about it, Khabib won that fight by a landslide, but it went to a decision, and that in and of itself was an upset. When I’m looking at a fighter as spectacularly talented as Khabib fighting a guy like Al who is an almost impossible underdog I’m not just looking at this fight, but I’m looking at openings that can possibly be exploited by the best fighters in the division. I saw some of those openings Saturday night, and I certainly found them interesting. In no way am I biased against Khabib, in fact I’m a massive fan of his and he’s one of my all time favorite fighters. If any of you were annoyed by my concentrating on that aspect of an incredibly dominant performance by one of the most impressive guys in the history of the division, please accept my sincere apology. When I commentate on fights my goal is to highlight the action and make it more exciting for the fans at home. Obviously all this is done live in real time, and if I had to go back and do it again I would often be able to do a better job. Even after all the years I’ve been commentating I still learn something new about the position with each and every event, and when that stops happening that will most likely be when I quit.

A post shared by Joe Rogan (@joerogan) on Apr 8, 2018 at 9:53pm PDT

“It is insanely rare to have a fighter as dominant as Khabib Nurmagomedov in one of the most talent stacked divisions to go 25 and 0 is incredible, but to do it without even having a rough moment in a fight is completely unheard of,” Rogan posted on Instagram yesterday. “The closest thing to adversity he’s had to face in the Octagon before Saturday was one solid punch that was landed by Michael Johnson in a fight that was otherwise a horrifically one-sided mauling.

“When I’m commentating on someone that dominant I am constantly looking for cracks in their armor, and on Saturday night we saw the first of those cracks exposed by an incredibly game Al Iaquinta. Most people, myself included, expected the highly favored Khabib to rag doll his last minute opponent the way he’s done to everyone else he faced in the Octagon, and that was the case in the early going, but as the fight got into the later rounds Al was able to keep the fight standing and we saw some possible flaws in Khabib’s defense.

“Make no mistake about it, Khabib won that fight by a landslide, but it went to a decision, and that in and of itself was an upset. When I’m looking at a fighter as spectacularly talented as Khabib fighting a guy like Al who is an almost impossible underdog I’m not just looking at this fight, but I’m looking at openings that can possibly be exploited by the best fighters in the division. I saw some of those openings Saturday night, and I certainly found them interesting. In no way am I biased against Khabib, in fact I’m a massive fan of his and he’s one of my all time favorite fighters. If any of you were annoyed by my concentrating on that aspect of an incredibly dominant performance by one of the most impressive guys in the history of the division, please accept my sincere apology. When I commentate on fights my goal is to highlight the action and make it more exciting for the fans at home. Obviously all this is done live in real time, and if I had to go back and do it again I would often be able to do a better job. Even after all the years I’ve been commentating I still learn something new about the position with each and every event, and when that stops happening that will most likely be when I quit.”

While Joe is right to point out the holes in Nurmagomedov’s striking defense, those chinks in the armor weren’t really exploited at UFC 223. In fact, Khabib barely took any damage this past weekend and exceeded expectations by outboxing the boxer. Nurmagomedov going the distance wasn’t much of a surprise, either, as half of his UFC bouts have gone to decision.

The Russian talent extended his win streak to twenty six at UFC 223 and called for a megafight with Georges St-Pierre in the post-fight interview.




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