Justin Gaethje has highlighted a key difference between his next opponent, Khabib Nurmagomedov and his last foe, Tony Ferguson.
Gaethje captured the UFC’s interim lightweight with a defeat of Ferguson back at UFC 249 in May. Gaethje was the picture of dominance in that fight, but Ferguson’s heart and toughness allowed him to survive until the fifth round, when he finally wilted under a storm of strikes.
Gaethje will now take on Nurmagomedov for the undisputed lightweight title in the main event of UFC 254 this Saturday. While Nurmagomedov is widely regarded as the best lightweight in UFC history, and one of the best fighters ever, Gaethje believes Ferguson has him beat in one key area: durability and toughness.
Speaking on Morning Kombat recently, Gaethje shared his belief that Nurmagomedov won’t be able to take punishment like Ferguson can.
“I create damage,” Gaethje said (via MMA Mania). “If I barely miss and barely clip you, it’s damage. Damage is done. In a 25-minute fight I will create damage one way or another. The thing about Tony (Ferguson) is that Tony loves that. One thing I am sure about Khabib is that he does not love that.”
It’s no secret that Justin Gaethje intends to drag Khabib Nurmagomedov into a firefight and inflict maximum damage. The interim champion has pointed to this game plan previously.
“I know I’m going to see his blood,” Gaethje told ESPN. “I want him to see his blood and I want to see his reaction. He isn’t as crazy as me, that’s the thing. I think he is crazy and loves competition but he isn’t quite as crazy as me. He also hasn’t seen his blood many times, I’m sure. His style of fighting is not something where you are looking for blood. I bet that doesn’t even cross his mind that he will see his own blood. That has never been a factor for him.”
Do you think Khabib Nurmagomedov is tough enough to survive five rounds with Justin Gaethje?