NEW YORK — Khabib Nurmagomedov wanted an unsanctioned brawl against Conor McGregor in a loading dock. He instead ended his long ride toward a UFC title with a championship belt to bring back to Russia.

Nurmagomedov capped one the rockiest weeks in UFC’s 25-year-history with a dominant outing over a bloodied Al Iaquinta to win the 155-pound championship by unanimous decision in the main event of UFC 223 on Saturday night.

Move aside, McGregor. Nurmagomedov is primed for main events, not just sideshows with dollies and broken glass.

“Where’s Conor? You want to fight this bus?” Nurmagomedov said.

Nurmagomedov won a belt stripped from McGregor this week because the tempestuous Irishman – who ignited a melee when he threw a hand cart and guard railing at a bus full of UFC fighters – had not fought for UFC in 17 months.

He’s now the only fighter who can stake a claim to the lightweight title.

Nurmagomedov improved to 26-0 (10-0 in UFC) in a path to the lightweight championship much more laborious than his five rounds in the ring at Barclays Center. He won 50-43 on two scorecards and 50-44 on the third.

Nurmagomedov had four fights against interim champ Tony Ferguson fall through – the latest because of a freak knee injury that led to featherweight champ Max Holloway’s getting the call on six days’ notice to move up in weight. Holloway was ruled medically unfit to compete on Friday, which forced UFC to bump Iaquinta from an undercard bout to a title fight.

Nurmagomedov was on the bus and said he had to be restrained by security to keep from fighting McGregor in the underbelly of the arena.

Nothing stopped him against Iaquinta.

The 29-year-old Nurmagomedov once wrestled a bear as a child and he had no trouble busting open a clearly overmatched Iaquinta. 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.

“I want to say thank you to Iaquinta for stepping up and fighting. He is a real Brooklyn gangster,” Nurmagomedov said.

Nurmagomedov was the clear fan favorite – fans dotted the arena wearing papakhas, a hat that looks like a powdered wig native to his homeland in Dagestan – and chanted “Khabib! Khabib! Khabib!”

Nurmagomedov lent his papakha to Joe Rogan and called out Georges St-Pierre for a fight later this year at Madison Square Garden.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.