Khabib Nurmagomedov dealt with distractions ahead of his massive bout with Conor McGregor, but things are different preparing for Dustin Poirier.
On Sept. 7, Nurmagomedov and Poirier will collide in a lightweight title unification bout. “The Eagle” holds UFC lightweight gold, while “The Diamond” is the interim title holder. Nurmagomedov vs. Poirier is set to headline UFC 242 (see info on how to watch here) in Abu Dhabi.
Nurmagomedov spoke to RT Sport ahead of his second lightweight title defense. He said that the lack of pre-fight insults don’t bother him as he isn’t fueled by heated rivalries (via MMANews.com).
“It’s not really necessary to have a verbal conflict to be motivated,” Nurmagomedov told RT Sport. “Motivation can be sporting, and I have that. Why not? When you go there and compete with a rival, it doesn’t matter if it’s a fight, a sports competition, or in a gym, motivation is always there. And I still have it. I’m not a 50-year-old, so I don’t have any problems with motivation. Whether I have it or not, you’ll see on September 7.”
It isn’t the trash talk that will serve as a distraction this time. Instead, Nurmagomedov will have to deal with the stress of his teammates competing on the same card.
“Yes, there will be some distraction,” Nurmagomedov admitted. “When your friends and close ones are fighting, it does distract you. But I hope they’ll give me some positive energy before my fight. Because when your close friends are losing, of course it upsets you. The main thing for them is to motivate me for my victory. We’re hoping only for victory.”
Do you think Khabib Nurmagomedov will be able to handle the stress of his teammates competing on the same card?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 7/31/2019.