UFC 249: Dustin Poirier Believes Justin Gaethje Will Give Khabib Nurmagomedov More Problems Than Tony Ferguson
The consensus is that Tony Ferguson is one of the greatest lightweights on the planet. But, according to Dustin Poirier, Justin Gaethje will give Khabib Nurmagomedov a biggest run for his money.
Due to the abilities of both Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson, many believe their upcoming, April 18th bout has the potential to be one of the greatest lightweight fights in history. But, it looks like Dustin Poirier believes a fight between Khabib and Justin Gaethje, has the potential to be more competitive and exciting.
Poirier weighs-in on Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson
Nurmagomedov and Ferguson have been booked to fight at UFC 249, and there’s no shortage of buzz surrounding the fight. After all, in Khabib you have one of the greatest fighters ever who has never lost. In Ferguson, you have a former interim champ who is on one of the greatest runs right now in all of MMA – a 12 fight winning streak. The fact the stars have been booked to fight four times before, and each time injuries or medial issues has punted the bout, has also heightened excitement.
Well, the last man to face Khabib, the aforementioned Poirier, appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on Monday. When asked to weigh-in on the upcoming bout between the champ and Ferguson, Poirier said this (quote via BJ Penn.com):
“It’s MMA. Anything can happen. Nothing’s for sure,” Poirier said. “But I just think he’s going to be the better competitor. If Kevin Lee was able to outwrestle Tony, and I think Danny Castillo did the same thing, Khabib’s definitely going to be able to do it.”
It’s an interesting point and Poirier isn’t the only person to express it. Lee did have success against Ferguson early on using his wrestling and top game, as did Castillo in his split decision loss to “El Cucuy”. Ferguson boosters would likely argue, however, that his guard game could pose a threat to Khabib, as it did against Lee (who was caught with a third-round, triangle-choke).
Poirier thinks Gaethje could push Khabib
While Poirier isn’t so sure that Ferguson will be able to take Khabib’s ‘0’, he does like Gaethje’s chances. While talking about how he thinks the former WSOF champ would do against Nurmagomedov, Poirier said this:
“He might have the ability to keep his back off the fence and keep it in the middle and, if he does get taken down, scramble back up. I think guys like that, who are going to take risks and brawl and have the hips and wrestling knowledge to stay up, will give him problems.”
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On account of Gaethje’s NCAA Division 1 wrestling pedigree, more than a few folks have argued that he could pose some issues for Khabib. Gaethje can also crack and likely has more power than Ferguson, although the latter’s striking game is much more dynamic.
All this aside, it remains to be seen who Gaethje or Poirier will fight next. Might the UFC look at a rematch between the two? Poirier stopped Gaethje in their thrilling, 2018 battle.