UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has made a final prediction for his fight with interim lightweight champ Justin Gaethje.
Nurmagomedov, who has never been beaten in 28 fights, will attempt to defend his title against Gaethje in the main event of UFC 254 this Saturday in Abu Dhabi.
The fight is widely viewed as the toughest challenge of the champion’s careers so far, but he’s optimistic the win will materialize.
Speaking on ESPN’s First Take, Nurmagomedov explained how he sees this fight going.
“I feel I’m going to make him tired and I’m going to finish this guy,” Nurmagomedov said (via MMA Fighting). “This is my opinion. But I’m ready for all rounds. All five round war.
“But my goal on this fight, make him tired and choke him out.”
Nurmagomedov rates Gaethje as a very solid opponent, and was particular impressed by the American’s last outing: a May TKO defeat of Tony Ferguson, who had not been beaten in 12 fights.
“Justin is a very interesting fighter,” Nurmagomedov said. “Very exciting. About his last fight, I was very impressed. It was a great performance. He knows how to wrestle, how to kick, how to punch. He has good experience.”
Ahead of this fight with Gaethje, Nurmagomedov is already considered one of the greatest fighters of all time. Many fans also consider him the best lightweight ever.
The man himself, however, feels there is more work to be done before his GOAT status is set in stone, but acknowledges a win over Gaethje will be a big step in that direction.
“I think I need a couple more fights,” Nurmagomedov said. “A couple more fights, it’s gonna be great for my legacy.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov has held the UFC lightweight title since early 2018, when he captured the vacant belt with a win over Al Iaquinta. Since then, he’s defended it twice, with wins over Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. Other highlights of his flawless resume include wins over Rafael dos Anjos, Michael Johnson and Edson Barboza.
Do you think he’ll get by Justin Gaethje this weekend?