Khabib’s Dad: Only The Ref Can Protect Conor

While his son prepares for his first UFC lightweight title defense, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s father Abdulmanap feels that Conor McGregor is a huge underdog heading into UFC 229.

“I think Conor understands that he wasn’t the real champion at 155 [pounds],” Abdulmanap told Alexander Lyutikov. “He only fought against two lightweights and one of them choked him out. When he took the belt, there were about six lightweights who were stronger than him.

“There are a lot of fighters who deserve a title shot more than Conor. For example, Poirier. He can keep a high pace, he tries to finish opponents. Poirier is the real contender.”

Abdulmanap feels the only reason McGregor is taking this fight is because its the most financially beneficial fight available to him.

“[Conor] will not earn the same money in any other fight,” Abdulmanap said. “Of course he understands that the five-round fight against Khabib will be a nightmare for him. He just has the puncher’s chance, but Khabib has never been knocked down. He’s never even been wobbled. I think Khabib’s chin is strong enough for the lightweight and welterweight divisions.

“Physically and tactically, Khabib is stronger than Conor. Khabib has better cardio than Conor and 100 percent Khabib has better wrestling and grappling. we will choke him out when we decide to do it. Of course, Conor’s left hand is very dangerous and he can throw the right uppercut. That’s all. Nothing else.”

Although McGregor is one of the best strikers at lightweight, the elder Nurmagomedov is confident that his son’s level of skill as a grappler would be able to stifle the Irish fighter.

“Let’s put together the best wrestling coaches from Dagestan, Japan, USA, Turkey . . . even they will not be able to prepare McGregor for this fight in three months,” Abdulmanap said. “No one can help him. You can’t do that in such a short time. He needs to start studying it from the beginning. To improve his wrestling in several months, it’s impossible.

“[Conor is dangerous] for 8 to 9 minutes, no more. After the first clinch, Khabib will take him down. We will finish this fight when we want. We respect our fans. If they want to watch all five rounds, we will fight all five rounds. But after two rounds, he has nothing to do on his feet. After two rounds, he will not be able to do anything. We don’t want to lose even one round. Khabib has never lost a single round.

“Only a referee can protect Conor, that’s why he will be in the cage.”

Initial Transcription: MMA Fighting

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