UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov says he is prepared for the kicks of Justin Gaethje, but vowed to land 100 takedowns if needed.
Nurmagomedov is the top wrestler in the UFC lightweight division and he has used his powerful takedown ability throughout his career to go 28-0 so far. On the other end of the spectrum, Gaethje is a former collegiate wrestler who has opted to strike exclusively throughout his own career. It makes the matchup between the two of them in the main event of this weekend’s UFC 254 event a fascinating clash of styles, to be sure.
Nurmagomedov is always prepared for his opponents and Gaethje is no different. Speaking to reporters in Abu Dhabi ahead of UFC 254, Nurmagomedov spoke about Gaethje’s strengths and weaknesses. While he realizes that he has a tough test in front of him, he also said that he will land as many takedowns as he needs in order to win.
“I think he has dinner meat on his hands. Very good kicks. He has very good kicks. They all good when they stand up. But when I grab them, it changes a little bit. I think that more than Dustin (Poirier), Conor (McGregor), and other guys, he knows how to wrestle. He’s going to be a little bit hard,” Nurmagomedov said (via MMAFighting.com).
“But I prepare myself to try to take him down 100 times. It’s going to be very interesting Saturday night.”
Many fans, fighters, and media believe that Gaethje has perhaps the best chance to defeat Nurmagomedov of anyone he has fought yet just due to having the wrestling in his back pocket to go along with the striking advantage. Despite that, Nurmagomedov opened as a big betting favorite from the sportsbooks. Gaethje is going to make this an interesting fight, but it’s difficult to go against Nurmagomedov.
How many takedowns do you think Khabib Nurmagomedov will land against Justin Gaethje?