At 27-0, UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is looking more and more like an unbeatable fighter. Yet former World Series of Fighting lightweight champion Justin Gaethje believes he’s got the skillset to dethrone the UFC lightweight king.
“I think my wrestling credentials alone would benefit me so much in that fight, my ability to stop the takedown,” Gaethje said on a recent episode of The MMA Hour, rating his chances against Nurmagomedov (transcript via MMA Fighting). “And I’m very confident in my standup, I’m confident in my coach and the gameplan that we would come together with and go out there and execute. I think with my athletic ability I’m a tough out for anybody.
“My ability to scramble, create scrambles,” Gaethje continued. “We’re sweating more [in MMA], I’m more slippery than people wearing singlets and wrestling in college or any wrestling match. So all those factors come into play when it comes to that grappling. And yeah, I’m not going to go in there to wrestle with him. I’m going in there to stop takedowns, and that’s what I’ve been good at this whole time. And in the clinch, I throw hard shots.
“So you can’t fail or prosper without going out there and taking that chance, so I’ve gotta put myself in a position [to get the fight], and I think as opposed to anybody else at the top of this division, I would be the toughest out for him. No doubt. And it’s a challenge that I’m looking forward to.”
How do you think Justin Gaethje would fair against the undefeated UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 4/22/2019.