Joe Rogan must be taking some heat for how he called Khabib Nurmagomedov’s win over Al Iaquinta at UFC 223, as the commentator has posted a statement, explaining his criticism of “The Eagle’s” performance.
Nurmagomedov won the vacant lightweight title on Saturday via scores of 50-44, 50-43, 50-43. During the fight, particularly in the third and fourth rounds, Rogan criticized Nurmagomedov’s striking game. Although Nurmagomedov was scoring more often than Iaquinta during those rounds, Rogan questioned the lightweights defensive skills.
Rogan also argued the performance revealed holes in Nurmagomedov’s game and that the fight likely would embolden possible opponents like Conor McGregor and Tony Ferguson.
Rogan must have felt the need to further elaborate on his call of the bout, as recently he posted the statement below:
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.