One of the most exciting fights of the year goes down on October 24th at UFC 254. UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagamedov will defend his title against the interim champ Justin Gaethje. In short, it’s a unification fight of sorts, with a lot on the line for both men.
Khabib is desperate to edge closer to that 30-0 unbeaten record as a win over Gaethje would take him just shy of it. Furthermore, after a tragic year where he lost his father, he wants to do something incredible in his memory. Meanwhile, ‘The Highlight’ just wants to be the real champion and be the first man to defeat the seemingly invincible Russian.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. Also, Khabib has a gameplan too and he believes that he has too much for Gaethje to handle. He spoke at the pre-fight virtual media day about his upcoming bout and how he feels about it. Check out his comments below because he had a lot to say about his opponent.
Khabib is typically respectful towards his opponents despite the fact that he beats them easily. He thinks that Gaethje is a brutal fighter who loves to battle. But he questions his opponent’s ability to read an opponent and make adjustments throughout the fight. He said:
“I don’t think it’s going to be a chess match, you know? I think my fight IQ is much better than Justin Gaethje’s. He’s just a tough guy. He likes fighting. He likes blood, you know? He’s like a real warrior. But when we talk about fighting IQ, I think my fighting IQ is much better than his, you know?”
In short, ‘The Eagle’ credits Gaethje’s coach Justin Wittman with Gaethje’s success. You could make the argument that if Gaethje does what Wittman tells him then that’s all that matters. But Khabib thinks that he is a much better fighter on the fly.
“I think Justin, he has a very good coach – just my opinion,” Khabib said. “He has a great coach. If you can watch his last fight with Tony Ferguson, having cornered him, (Wittman) gave him very good advice. I think he has a very good and very great coach. Of course, Justin can fight. He can go deep. He has heart. But if you’re talking about fighting IQ, I think I have much better than him.”
Finally, Khabib divulged exactly how he plans to beat Gaethje. To sum up, there is nothing new planned. He wants to take his opponent down, wrestle him and grind him out.
“I’m going to try wrestling with him,” Nurmagomedov said. “If he’s going to defend my takedown one time, I’m going to try second, third, 100 times. Of course, I’m going to box with him and kick with him. It’s going to be kickboxing and wrestling – like, mixed. My goal is to make him tired. I’m going to make him tired. This is my goal. Maybe in Round No. 3 or Round No. 4, my plan is finish him.”
Who would bet against him?