The question of who can challenge Khabib Nurmagomedov was asked even more following his comfortable win over Dustin Poirier.
Many believe it’s Tony Ferguson, who is ideally next in line to challenge for the lightweight title. “El Cucuy” is on a 12-fight winning streak and in theory, has the ground game and cardio to potentially trouble Nurmagomedov.
However, former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra believes there are only two fighters who can challenge “The Eagle” — Brian Ortega being one of them:
“Styles make fights. I was thinking, I was there over in Abu Dhabi with Khabib fighting Dustin Poirier and he looked dominant as all F,” Serra said on the Unfiltered podcast (via BJ Penn). “It was something else, but styles make fights. So after that fight I’m thinking, is there anything telling in the whole division that somebody can challenge him? [That] can really pose a threat. Two names immediately shot up in my head.
“One, Brian Ortega. I don’t give a f*ck what anyone says. That guillotine was tight as hell. I’d love to hear what Khabib says about it, but the fact that he had to go to his hip, he didn’t go straight up belly to ceiling cause he knows that could be it, he had to make him adjust his grip. That thing was tight man. So if somebody who is a little more precise or a lot more precise like Brian Ortega, in a transition with a takedown, he gets that arm around the neck, can he finish it?”
The other fighter is Justin Gaethje who is fresh off his third win in a row following his TKO victory over Donald Cerrone this past weekend:
“Who’s held down Gaethje and beat him up?” Serra added. “Nobody. He’s so powerful, cardio never seems to be a problem. The way he puts his kicks and his hands [together]. He’s powerful with his fists.”
Those two are certainly good candidates. But we will never know until they actually step foot inside the Octagon opposite Nurmagomedov.
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