Khabib Nurmagomedov will face one of his sternest tests yet when he faces Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in October.
The Eagle will meet Gaethje to decide who is the true UFC lightweight champion and he puts his perfect 28-0 record on the line in the process.
Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje will go at it at UFC 254
Gaethje comes into this fight looking like one of the best equipped to give Khabib problems.
He decimated Tony Ferguson back in May and is clearly the favoured in a stand-up, but he also has a Division-1 All-American wrestling background and has been training with Big Ten Champion Ryan Deakin.
Many have tried and failed to beat Khabib – including Conor McGregor – but Gaethje believes he knows what he has to do to beat the Russian.
Were not wrestling anymore, Gaethje said during an appearance on Michael Bispings Believe You Me podcast. Theres gonna be a zone in front of me, its not very big. Its gonna be a zone of death, and I have to represent death every time he enters this zone. Thats what Im the best at, creating carnage. Creating car crashes.
Gaethje defeated Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 to set up the Khabib fight
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**king shoulders hitting, my fist hitting his head, his fist hitting my head, it doesnt matter I need to create car crashes because its the only way to beat this guy.
If Gaethje can avoid the pattern of being grabbed and worn down by Khabib, then he does stand a chance.
Dustin Poirier very nearly had Khabib tapping before ultimately submitting to the champion in September of last year but strikers haven’t really found much joy against the shooting-Khabib.
Khabib (left) and Gaethje (right) are arguably two of the lightweight division’s best fighters at the moment and they’ll collide in October
Khabib’s team still believe that McGregor represents the biggest threat to his pristine record and lightweight title, but Gaethje showed against Ferguson he is not to be underestimated.
Although McGregor is retired, it’s widely believed he will become active again in the wake of this bout on October 24 and seek to fight the victor.
9-year-old Khabib Nurmagomedov wrestles a bear as a child in Dagestan
Cormier vs Miocic at UFC 252 will be live on talkSPORT 2 this Sunday. Adam Catterall, Nick Peet and Dan Hardy will bring you all the action from 1am