The UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov is going to put his unbeatable record at risk in the main event of UFC 242 against Dustin Poirier. Many believe this to be the toughest fight in Nurmagomedov’s decorated career, while some believe it will be another mauling from the Russian wrestling machine.
However, how many times we have seen great fighters lose because they were up against a fighter who was a nightmare stylistically. Anthony Joshua comes to the mind who got knocked out by the Mexican, Andy Ruiz. Conor McGregor’s loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov is another example. Khabib Nurmagomedov may be the next victim against Dustin Poirier.
Khabib Nurmagomedov is Not as good as what his record shows
27 Wins and 0 loss is an impressive record in any sports. It becomes even more impressive when the record is achieved in mixed martial arts, where two men stepped into the cage to hurt each other. However, the quality of opponents does matter. And if we look at Khabib’s record, there are some great names on it.
Conor McGregor, Edson Barboza, Rafael Dos Anjos, Al Laquinta, and Michael Johnson stands out from the rest. However, there is one thing common in all of these Khabib’s victims. They are not comfortable on the ground which means they would rather have the fight standing and trade strikes with their opponents.
Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Wins:
Let’s take the most accomplished opponent of Nurmagomedov ‘s career, Conor McGregor for example. McGregor had tough times on the ground in the past. Nate Diaz submitted him in their first encounter. Chad Mendes took him down with ease on short notice for the fight. However, Nurmagomedov is multiple levels above Chad Mendes when it comes to wrestling. Hence it was predictable that Conor would be in trouble again if the Khabib takes him down. The only way McGregor would have won that match was knocking Khabib out, and he might have done that too.
However, we all can agree that the McGregor against Khabib was not the same fighter who fought Eddie Alvarez or Nate Diaz in the rematch. The long inactivity from the sports did affect McGregor to the point that even Nurmagomedov knocked down Conor in the second round. So a win over McGregor is impressive for sure, but that doesn’t make Khabib the greatest of all time.
A win over RDA is surely impressive. He is the former lightweight champion and a legend in MMA. However, considering the last few losses of RDA against wrestlers such as Colby Covington and Kamaru Usman, it is not surprising that he lost to Nurmagomedov.
The fight against Al Iaquinta was the one that showed a cheek in the armor of Khabib’s game. The lightweight champion struggled to take Al down in the later rounds. Also keeping in mind that Al took that fight on one day notice, it just made the win looks even less impressive.
Nurmagomedov was a nightmare matchup for someone like Edson Barboza. Barboza’s kicking game went outside the window against Khabib because of Khabib’s forward pressure and his takedowns. Every time Barboza throws a kick it makes him vulnerable for a takedown. The last thing a fighter wants is being taken down by Khabib.
Dustin Poirier is the toughest fight :
Dustin Poirier has fought some grueling battles in UFC. Poirier has shown in the past that he can defend himself on the ground. On the feet, Poirier will likely hurt Nurmagomedov since he is the superior striker. Khabib’s striking is rudimentary, yet very effective. However, it’s not on Poirier’s striking level.
That apart, Poirier has knocked out his opponents in the later rounds.
We have never seen anyone hurt Nurmagomedov badly before when he tries to box with his opponents. However, there is a possibility that Poirier is going to hurt Khabib in the fight.
How the defending champion will deal with Poirier’s striking and power is the question to ask?
Poirier can deal with the high pace of Nurmagomedov for sure. He has fought fighters such as Max Holloway and Justin Gathje who maintain an overwhelming pace in their fight.
Keeping all this in mind, it’s safe to say that Dustin Poirier will be the toughest fight yet for Nurmagomedov.
Khabib Nurmagomedov holds an unprecedented unbeaten streak in UFC, which puts him right in the mix of the pound for pound greatest discussion. A win over Dustin Poirier will cement the legacy of the Russian. However, a loss in UFC 242 will raise some questions on Khabib Nurmagomedov’s dominance.