Luke Rockhold is a long-time friend and training partner of undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Having felt Nurmagomedov’s world class skills first-hand, Rockhold believes the lightweight champ is a nightmare matchup for just about anybody — at lightweight or welterweight.
Rockhold praised the skills of the champ on a recent episode of Submission Radio.
“The problem is, these guys at lightweight, they just don’t know what it’s like when Khabib gets a hold of them,” Rockhold said of Nurmagomedov. “And I’ve been with most top talents I’ve seen at lightweight and welterweight and I’ve grappled with them, and Khabib is more than anything that any lightweight has ever felt, and most of all welterweights. So, I don’t care who you are, how slippery you are, even if you’re Tony Ferguson and you’re slippery, you’re not gonna feel the same thing when Khabib gets a hold of you. It’s gonna slow you down.”
So, what’s it going to take to defeat Khabib Nurmagomedov? By Rockhold’s estimation, somebody will have to catch the champ with something early and take him out before he can get his game going.
“You’d have to get him with something wild, something early,” Rockhold said. “Because the longer that thing went, the more times Khabib got a hold of him, it just, it wouldn’t go well for him.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov is currently a jaw-dropping 28-0 as a pro mixed martial artist. The champ last defended his title in September, when he choked out Dustin Poirier. His next most recent title defense was a submission win over his arch rival Conor McGregor.
Nurmagomedov was expected to return to the cage against Tony Ferguson on April 18, but was unfortunately stranded in Russia due to the coronavirus. Ferguson is now expected to battle Justin Gaethje for the interim lightweight belt on May 9.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 4/30/2020.