Kenny Florian doesn’t think he has all the answers, but he still feels many lightweights have repeated a mistake against Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Nurmagomedov has been flawless in his professional mixed martial arts career. The UFC lightweight champion holds a perfect 27-0 record. He’s beaten the likes of Conor McGregor, Rafael dos Anjos, Edson Barboza, Al Iaquinta, and more. “The Eagle” is set for a title unification bout against interim champion Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 on Sept. 7.
Florian recently spoke to Shane Fazen and Marcus Kowal for fightTIPS. During the sitdown, Florian discussed a flaw in the game planning of Nurmagomedov’s fallen foes.
“Against Khabib, I think everyone goes, ‘well this is what I’m gonna do. We gotta work on our wrestling for this fight.’ It’s not gonna work,” Florian said. “He’s been wrestling for way too long. Same thing against someone like [Ben] Askren. You can work on your wrestling for as much as you want, they have too many years under their belt. They’re always going to beat you at wrestling. It’s just gonna be too tough.”
“KenFlo” went on to give his take on what may give Nurmagomedov issues.
“I think yeah, don’t ignore your wrestling, but I think one way to counteract Khabib is trying to utilize jiu-jitsu to create scrambles to get back to your feet,” Florian explained. “And again, I might be a little biased as a jiu-jitsu guy, but I think taking that approach of really trying to counter the wrestling with some jiu-jitsu, at least threaten it to get him to disconnect from you or create scrambles to get back to your feet, I think is a decent approach.”
While Florian thinks it’s far easier said than done, he believes keeping Khabib Nurmagomedov on the feet while digging at the body is also key.
“And of course just keeping the fight on the feet as long as possible,” Florian continued. “Attacking the body to try to slow him down. He’s very well-known for his conditioning and I think beating up the body is a great way to try to slow down someone like that. Even guys who are in unbelievable shape, you beat up the body they’re gonna get slowed down. And there’s a lot to it, but I think trying to beat a wrestler with wrestling, a wrestler of that caliber, is maybe not the best approach against someone like Khabib.”
Do you think UFC lightweights should take some notes from Kenny Florian on how to dethrone Khabib Nurmagomedov?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 8/5/2019.