Pitbull: I Can Knock Out Khabib
While Tony Ferguson is looking to finally fight UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Khabib’s manager Ali Abdelaziz is saying it is “GSP or bust,” another lightweight champion is calling Khabib out.
“Khabib is very tough, has phenomenal wrestling and sambo, but he has a huge deficiency on the feet so I can catch him,” Bellator lightweight/featherweight champion Patricio Freire told MMA Fighting.
“Nothing is impossible. I think he’s very tough, 28-0, but another fighter from Rio Grande do Norte, (Gleison) Tibau, put on a very tough fight with him, and I think there’s a path to beat him. I believe we can do it. If my hand lands — and it would land —, it’s over.”
Tibau saw Nurmagomedov defeat him by a decision in Khabib’s second UFC fight in 2012, and Freire has not seen much growth from the UFC champion since that night.
“He has the same fight pattern since his first fight,” Freire said. “He backs his opponent against the fence, moves and shoots to the leg. No one has ever tried… Maybe someone did try to land a knee, but I don’t remember anyone getting close to landing. Iaquinta was doing well against him, moving well on the feet, but he was closing the distance the wrong way. I think I can close the distance better.”
“Maybe if he had more time to prepare or come up with a different gameplan he would have done something better,” Freire said of Iaquinta. “I think he was throwing a jab and a cross. If he threw two jabs and followed with two hands it would land right on Khabib’s chin. You saw him against (Dustin) Poirier now, he looks lost on the feet. He didn’t know how to move, let his hands down, ran across the cage many times. That, my friend, when you’re fighting a striker, is pretty easy.”
“Someone asked my thoughts about Poirier before the fight and I said I think he’s weak,” Freire said of the former interim lightweight champion. “I don’t like him. I know he has knocked out some good guys, has done some good fights, but there are guys you look and say, ‘I don’t like him, I’d beat him in the first round.’”
Report: MMA Fighting