Daniel Cormier walked out of Gaethje's UFC 254 meeting so he wouldn't be uncomfortable speaking in front of Khabib's pal

DANIEL CORMIER – a former team-mate of Khabib Nurmagomedov – showed respect to Justin Gaethje by leaving his fighter meeting ahead of the pair's UFC 254 bout.

Former UFC light heavyweight and heavyweight champ Cormier, 41, shares a close bond with the reigning lightweight king.

The pair spent eight years together at American Kickboxing Academy, where Cormier says he should be credited with teaching Khabib how to jab.

However, despite his allegiance to Khabib, Cormier showed great respect by leaving Gaethje's pre-fight talk ahead of his bout against The Eagle.

Talking on BT Sport, Dan Hardy, revealed what happened.

He said: "It's not about DC [Cormier] hearing what Gaethje says and then passing it onto Khabib.

"It's about Gaethje not wanting to speak too much to DC with him being in the room.

"It is a very respectful thing to do. DC nipped out for a coffee and then came back a little later.

"I don't think it would change Gaethje to be honest. Some fighters would have been a bit more guarded given there was a team-mate in the room.

"But not Gaethje. The game plans are on the table, aren't they?

"We know what both of these guys have got to do. Gaethje has been saying exactly what he needs to do to win and there are no secrets about it."

Cormier retired from fighting in August and will now be calling the action at UFC 254 on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi on Saturday night.

He says there were doubts over his objectivity calling bouts when he was still competing – and that's why he said no.

But now he insists there are no such concerns.

He said: "It’s tough, because Khabib’s been there now for eight years at AKA, and we’ve seen him rise from the very beginning.

"But I’ve got a job to do and that’s what I’m going to do Saturday."

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