Justin Gaethje believes he’ll be in a bad situation if allows UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov to get him against the fence.
Gaethje, the current UFC interim lightweight champion, will challenge the undefeated Nurmagomedov for the undisputed lightweight title in the main event of UFC 254 this Saturday on Fight Island.
Heading into the fight, both men have made no secrets of their strategies, with Nurmagomedov admitting he’ll be relentlessly pursuing takedowns, and Gaethje laying out plans for a firefight.
Interestingly, Gaethje has also shed on the situation he’d most likely to avoid in this matchup: being caught against the cage by the champ, who is one of the best grapplers in MMA.
Gaethje made this admission at Wednesday’s UFC 254 pre-fight press conference.
Justin Gaethje says he didn’t go back and watch any footage on Khabib Nurmagomedov in preparation. ‘I’ve always watched him as a fan. If he puts me up against the fence, I’m screwed.’
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) October 21, 2020
“I’ve always watched him as a fan,” Gaethje said, clarifying that he hasn’t studied any tape on Nurmagomedov. “If he puts me up against the fence, I’m screwed.”
Justin Gaethje positioned himself for a shot at Khabib Nurmagomedov back in May, when he stepped into the Octagon with Tony Ferguson. Ferguson has not been beaten in 12 consecutive fights, but in a masterful performance, Gaethje beat the breaks of his highly-regarded foe en route to a fifth-round TKO victory. That win earned him the interim lightweight title, and catapulted him into this fight with Nurmagomedov.
Other highlights of Gaethje’s impressive 22-2 overall record include defeats of Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, Edson Barboza, James Vick, and Michael Johnson. The American also previously ruled over the World Series of Fighting lightweight division, where he picked up wins over the likes of Luis Palomino, Melvin Guillard and Nick Newell.
Do you think Justin Gaethje can execute his game plan and defeat Khabib Nurmagomedov this weekend?