Daniel Cormier Praises Justin Gaethje, But Sees Khabib Retiring Perfect
Daniel Cormier believes Justin Gaethje will be Khabib Nurmagoomedov's toughest test to date, but he sees his buddy remaining undefeated.
It doesn’t sound like Daniel Cormier thinks Khabib Nurmagomedov will cruise to an easy win over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. But, the legendary fighter believes his teammate and friend will move to 29-0.
Cormier weighs-in on Khabib versus Gaethje
Gaethje seized a bout with Khabib this past May, by stopping Tony Ferguson and winning the interim belt. Even before that win, many people had opined that Gaethje could pose a legitimate threat to Khabib’s reign, on account of his NCAA Division 1 wrestling background and dangerous striking.
Well, recently Cormier spoke with the media ahead of UFC 254, and he had this to say about Gaethje (quotes via MMA Junkie).
“I think it’s the toughest fight in the division for (Khabib),” Cormier said. “I think Justin Gaethje is an absolute stud.
They call him ‘The Human Highlight,’ the most exciting guy in the game. It’s true.
Not just the most exciting guy in the game but all of combat sports. There is no fighter in the world of sports that is more exciting than Justin Gaethje. Boxing, kickboxing, mixed martial arts – you’ll find nobody more exciting and better.
The Justin Gaethje that fought Tony Ferguson in May is more dangerous to Khabib than anyone that he has ever stepped in the octagon with.”
Yup, there’s no question that Gaethje looked even better than ever in his fight with Ferguson. His boxing appeared to be on a new level as did his defense.
But, despite Gaethje’s improvements and his own wrestling skills, Cormier believes Khabib’s grappling will once again, rule the day
“With everybody, he tells you (what he’s going to do). But you’ve got to be able to stop it.
He’s become so good at what he does that you’ve got to be able to stop it. Now, that’s why Justin’s the most dangerous, because Justin has the skill set to stop it.”
“I don’t know if anyone is going to beat him,” Cormier said. “I’m confident in believing that Khabib will retire undefeated. Nobody will beat this guy. He is too committed to who he is supposed to be to get beat by anyone. …
I just don’t know if anyone can beat this guy right now. No ’55-pounder should feel that strong when he grabs you.”
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Now, on account of Cormier’s lengthy friendship with Khabib, it’s understandable to wonder if he’s being biased or if his analysis could be off.
But, not many people, if anyone, knows more about wrestling and its integration into MMA than “DC”.
It’s very likely he’s witnessed Khabib takedown world-class wrestlers in sparring before, and we haven’t seen Gaethje showcase his wrestling much during his UFC run.
UFC 254 will take place on October 24th in Abu Dhabi.