‘My plan is finish him’: Khabib Nurmagomedov says he’ll outsmart and outfight Justin Gaethje, then finish him at UFC 254 (VIDEO)
UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov said he’s not just the better fighter heading into his UFC 254 fight with Justin Gaethje, he’s the smarter fighter as well.
Speaking to RT Sport ahead of his lightweight title unification battle on October 24 on “UFC Fight Island,” Khabib said that he respects Gaethje’s fighting ability and heart, but the Russian world champion said that he holds a crucial edge in the matchup – his fight IQ.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a chess match, you know,” he said.
“I think my fighting IQ is much better than Justin Gaethje. He’s just a tough guy. He likes fighting, he likes blood. He’s like a real warrior. But if we’re talking about fighting IQ, I think my fighting IQ is much better than he has.”
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Khabib also paid tribute to Gaethje’s longtime coach Trevor Wittman, as he called the trainer a “great coach,” and praising how he guided Gaethje through his last fight against former interim champion Tony Ferguson.
“I think Justin has a very good coach, a great coach. If you watch his last fight when he fought with Tony Ferguson, how he cornered him, he gave him very good advice. I think he has a very good and very great coach.
“Of course, Justin can fight. He can go deep and he has heart, but if you’re talking about fighting IQ, I think I have much better than him.”
As for the fight itself, Khabib said there was no secret to his approach, as he laid out his gameplan to break down Gaethje before finishing him in the middle-to-late rounds.
“I’m going to try wrestling with him. If he’s going to defend my takedown one time, I’m going to try a second, third. I’m gonna try 100 times. And of course I’m going to box with him, I’m going to kick with him.
“He’s going to be kickboxing and wrestling, a mix. I’m going to make him tired. This is my goal. And maybe in round number 3, round number 4, my plan is finish him.”
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