Khabib Nurmagomedov has opened up on how he plans to beat interim champion Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 on October 24.
Gaethje presents a unique challenge to the undefeated Russian due to the fact he boasts impressive wrestling credentials. Nurmagomedov is unfazed by his opponent’s grappling ability and made that much clear while speaking to reporters during UFC 254 media day.
“Nothing changes,” Nurmagomedov said. “I’m going to try wrestling with him. If he’s going to defend my takedowns for a long time, I’m going to try second, third, I’m going to try 100 times.
“Of course, I’m going to box with him. I’m going to kick with him. It’s going to be kickboxing and wrestling mixed.”
“I think he has good wrestling defense, very good wrestling defense. He knows how to wrestle. He’s wrestled almost all his life. But I don’t think the last five, six years, he used his wrestling how I use. Because I always use my wrestling. In training, inside the cage, because wrestling and top control, this is what make me champion. I don’t think the last couple of years he becomes a very good wrestler.
“He has the base, like you have when he was a kid, but right now everything has changed. Of course, he knows how defend if someone try to take him down and we all know about his conditioning, too. If I’m going to attack him the first two rounds, the third round I think he’s going [to be] finished. Because he don’t have good conditioning.”
Ultimately, Nurmagomedov expects to be too smart for Gaethje who he predicts will get finished in the UFC 254 main event in round three or four, he said.
“I think my fighting IQ is much better than Justin Gaethje He’s just a tough guy. He like fighting. He like blood. He’s like real warrior but when we talk about fighting IQ, I think my fighting IQ is much better than he has.
“Of course, Justin can fight. He can go deep. He has heart. But if you’re talking fighting IQ, I think I have much better than him.”
“My goal is to make him tired. I’m going to make him tired. This is my goal. Maybe round No. 3 or round No. 4, my plan is finish him.” (Transcribed by MMA Fighting)