This Saturday night, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje meet in a clash of styles that is surrounded by intrigue.
Nurmagomedov represents, as usual, the grappling based style. In the other corner, is Gaethje, who has been finishing opponents with strikes his entire career. A common question leading into this fight night, however, is the fact Gaethje originates from a wrestling background himself, perhaps offering a retaliation to Nurmagomedov’s forward momentum.
In Khabib’s mind, his grappling is still a level above Gaethje’s.
“I think it’s a big difference,” Nurmagomedov said, speaking at the pre-fight press conference. “I know he knows how to wrestle. Worry about wrestling 25 minutes. I told [Daniel Cormier] today, ‘When you fight with Stipe Miocic last time, you grabbed his leg one time, and you take him down. He got up very quickly, and you’re finished.’ All other minutes (went) standup. Between me and DC is a big difference.
“If I’m going to try to take him down once and he defends, I’m going to go all night. I’m going to go all night. This is the big difference between U.S. wrestling and Dagestan wrestling. … They all good when they stand up, but when I grab them, it changes a little bit. I think more than Dustin and Conor and other guys, he know to wrestle. It’s going to be a little bit hard. I prepared myself to try to take him down 100 times. It’s going to be interesting Saturday night.”