Khabib Nurmagomedov believes that his former foe Conor McGregor is a better standing fighter than his upcoming opponent Justin Gaethje.
The undefeated UFC lightweight champion, Nurmagomedov (28-0 MMA), is set to square off with the promotions interim lightweight title holder Justin Gaethje in the headliner of UFC 254 on October 24.
Many fans and analysts believe that Gaethje will prove to be Khabib’s toughest test to date, but for ‘The Eagle’ this type of narrative is nothing new.
“Before the fight with (Edson) Barboza, they said that he was my most uncomfortable rival,” Khabib said (via RT Sport h/t MMAJunkie). “Then they said the same thing before the fight with Conor, then with (Dustin) Poirier. They didn’t have time to say that about (Al) Iaquinta, because they gave me a fight in a few hours. I am sympathetic to this, but journalists need to say something to warm up their interest in battle.”
While Khabib Nurmagomedov does believe that Justin Gaethje is a very good fighter, he doesn’t feel that the striking of ‘The Highlight’ measures up to former opponent Conor McGregor.
“But I kind of agree that Gaethje is a very good fighter. If he was bad he would not have fought for the belt. Is he better standing than Conor? I think no. My fighting IQ tells me that Conor is better standing than Gaethje.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor met in the main event of UFC 229 in October of 2018 with ‘The Eagle’ emerging victorious by way of submission.
‘The Eagle’ recently suggested that all the Irishman has to do in order to earn a rematch is to once again defeat ‘The Diamond’ in Dustin Poirier.
Meanwhile, Justin Gaethje will enter UFC 254 on a four-fight win streak, his latest being a TKO victory over Tony Ferguson at UFC 249.
Do you agree with Khabib that Conor McGreogr is a better striker than Justin Gaethje?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com August 15, 2020