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Justin Gaethje Outlines Why he Believes Khabib Nurmagomedov Will Get by Tony Ferguson

Justin Gaethje [1] has repeatedly said he wants to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov at some juncture, and the lightweight believes if that happens after “The Eagle” faces Tony Ferguson, their bout will be a championship fight.

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Gaethje weigh-ins on Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson

Recently it’s been reported that the UFC is hoping to have Nurmagomedov defend the lightweight crown against Ferguson on April 18th. [2] As this is being written, the fight isn’t finalized, but Nurmagomedov has reportedly signed onto the contest and negotiations are continuing with Ferguson.

Well, recently Gaethje appeared on Michael Bisping’s “Believe You Me” podcast. [3] While sharing his thoughts on the expected bout, the former WSOF champ said this (quotes via MMA Junkie [4]):

“I do think Khabib will win,” Gaethje said. “But I do think Tony is going to bring some … I don’t know if he’s going to lay on his back and throw elbows, I don’t know what the hell is going to happen there.

“Especially the way Khabib fights, and the way Khabib wins. It’s crazy how much and how hard Tony gets hit, how often he gets hit at fights but I don’t think that’s going to be a problem for him in this fight because Khabib is not going to be looking to exploit that, that option. He’s going to do what he does. I’m really interested to see if Tony, his jiu-jitsu, for one, plays a factor, and for two, just his tenaciousness of being on bottom and still wanting to fight.”

Yup. It’s going to be really interesting to see how Ferguson does working off his back, if and or when he’s taken down. You can certainly make the case that of all the fighters Khabib has faced during his UFC run, Tony has the most active and dangerous guard off all of them. Not only because of his submission arsenal, but on account of his nasty elbows as well.

Gaethje says he has to fight Khabib at some point

It’s not clear what’s next for Gaethje and if he’ll end up facing the winner of Nurmagomedov – Ferguson. But, the punishing fighter still, really, really wants to fight Khabib at some point. Case in point, during the interview, he also reportedly said this:

“Khabib, I know, has publicly stated he does not have many fights left, so I have to fight him before he goes away. I can’t let him go undefeated without at least testing, being able to test him myself. I consider myself one of the most dangerous lightweights in the world and I bring different things that Khabib hasn’t had to deal with, necessarily. I have crazy power in my legs, in my arms, in my hands. I’m really good at wrestling. I’m super athletic. I’ve been wrestling as long as he has. Nobody has wrestled as long as he has except for me. So I’m trying to ultimately get that fight.”

Others have also argued that Gaethje could pose the biggest threat to Khabib, on account of his power and his own wrestling pedigree. It would be fascinating fight, no question. But, some big pieces of the puzzle need to fall into place first, before Gaethje and Nurmagomedov cross paths in the Octagon.