John McCarthy believes Tony Ferguson is going to be a tough opponent for Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The two have been booked to fight each other on April 18 in Brooklyn, New York. McCarthy believes Nurmagomedov won’t be able to mentally or physically break Ferguson, so he has to adjust his gameplan.
“Khabib needs to fight a specific fight to beat Tony Ferguson,” McCarthy said of Nurmagomedov on his Weighing In podcast with Josh Thomson (via TheBodyLockMMA). “And he needs to be in that mindset of ‘I will put myself in these positions that you say you’re comfortable with and I’m going to make you uncomfortable with what you think you’re comfortable with.’ That’s where I think Khabib needs to put this fight for him to grind out a fight against Tony because he is not going to physically break Tony.
“It’s not going to happen. Tony does not have that in his head. You are not going to push him past that cliff as far as exercise output in that he gets exhausted — that’s not going to happen. And you are mentally not going to break him,” he continued. “Khabib can talk to Tony all he wants and just realize that every word you say will be two words coming back in the opposite from Tony talking back to you. So don’t get into this whole thing of ‘I want to mentally break’ — you’re not going to do that. There are those guys. But this guy just does not break.”
Ultimately, John McCarthy believes Khabib Nurmagomedov has to focus on where he puts his head to avoid the slick submissions of Ferguson and the damage “El Cucuy” can do from the bottom if he wants to remain undefeated.
“… In this camp, Khabib has got to work on head position,” McCarthy said of Nurmagomedov. “His head needs to centerline and up. From that sternum to that chin, that’s where your head is at. When it starts to go either side, he’s going to have a problem.
“If he is in guard, he needs to be careful of keeping his head in that sternum. Everything is depending upon your position. But if you’re against the cage, in the standup clinch, don’t stick your head to the left or right. I want your head center line, into his chin up. Don’t give him that side to side.”
Do you agree with John McCarthy on what Khabib Nurmagomedov has to do against Tony Ferguson to win?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 12/6/2019.