Justin Gaethje Sends His Own Message To Khabib Nurmagomedov
If there were any thoughts that Justin Gaethje was intimidated by Khabib Nurmagomedov heading into their fight at UFC 254, think again.
The interim UFC Lightweight Champion in Gaethje (22-2) is ready to beat Nurmagomedov (28-0) at his own game. Speaking on Michael Bisping’s “Believe You Me” podcast, Gaethje discussed how he can stop the wrestling ability of the Russian. With eight wins via knockout and ten via submission, Khabib has managed to subdue his opponents after taking them down. Sometimes, he does so right away.
“I was a Division-I All-American… But we’re not wrestling anymore,” Gaethje stated, via MMA Junkie.
“There’s going to be a zone in front of me. It’s not very big. It’s going to be a zone of death, and if I have to represent death every time he enters the zone, that’s what I’m the best (at) – creating carnage, creating car crashes. So my only goal when I step in there is to create as many car crashes as possible, whether it be our bodies hitting, our heads hitting, our f***ing shoulders hitting, our fists hitting, my fist hitting his head, his fist hitting my head, it doesn’t matter. I need to create car crashes, because that’s the only way to beat this guy.”
Gaethje beat Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 to win the interim UFC Lightweight Title. Landing over 100 significant strikes, “The Highlight’s” left hook was able to badly bruise the face of Ferguson. The referee called the fight off in the fifth round, awarding Gaethje the win. He did not utilize his wrestling or look to take down Ferguson at any point. It was his fourth win in a row, and he is now 5-2 in the UFC.
Khabib made his UFC debut in 2012. In his fourth fight, he set the record for most takedowns in a single fight with 21. The 31-year-old won the UFC Lightweight Title against Al Iaquinta at UFC 223 in 2018 after Ferguson backed out. He then defended the belt against Conor McGregor, submitting him at UFC 229. “The Eagle’s” last fight was at UFC 242 in September, beating Dustin Poirier to unify the UFC Lightweight Title.
The statement by Gaethje comes after Khabib stated he would take Gaethje to the deepest ocean and drown him. Gaethje is currently training with Division-I wrestler Ryan Deakin to work on his takedown defense. He believes his skills, plus the training he will receive, can help in a fight with Khabib. He does believe that no matter what, it will be a fight to remember.
“I have never not come out of the cage with my opponent not being broken from physical damage,” Gaethje went on to say. “He’s never not walked out with a lot of physical damage, so we’re going to see who’s going to impose their will. It’ll be interesting. I do think it’ll be a battle for the ages.
“At the end of the day, he breathes oxygen. His brain needs to get oxygen. If I can short-circuit that oxygen supply for half a second, then he’ll go to sleep,” Gaethje added, via MMA Fighting.
UFC 254 will be taking place on October 24. As of now, the event will either be in Las Vegas or “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi.