Khabib Nurmagomedov CAN be beaten by Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 if he keeps him off the ground, says former rival Tibau
KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV can be beaten by Justin Gaethje – if the American keeps the champion off the ground, according to the Russian's former rival Gleison Tibau.
The lightweight world title is on the line at UFC 254 when the pair meet in the octagon.
Khabib will be desperate to maintain his unbeaten record in the clash on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
But Tibau reckons there is a way to end the 28-0 king's reign.
The Brazilian, who pushed Khabib all the way in July 2012 but ultimately lost on a unanimous decision, believes the best way to get on top is not letting the Russian grapple on the canvas.
Tibau told AG Fight: "It’s all about how well your style matches up with his.
"He’s strong, he puts on an absurd amount of pressure and he has good wrestling. He’s been dominating everyone and never has a hard outing.
"Our fight was pretty close, many think that I won. I scored more points, I took him down a few times and he never took me down. I connected some shots, too.
"I’ve always been one of the strongest fighters in the division, but when I fought him, I could tell he was a monster.
"It was like I was fighting a heavyweight. Absurd pressure.”
“I’m one of the guys with the best takedown defense in MMA. That’s the secret to beat Khabib.
"In order to handle his pressure, you need to have good wrestling and takedown defense.
"If you can stop his takedowns, it gets easier. Nowadays, I think my boxing would be good enough to knock him out."
Khabib knows his strength lies in his ability on the deck.
And he openly revealed he will use similar tactics that have been so successful for him in the past once again.
The Eagle said: "I'm going to try wrestling with him. If he's going to defend my takedown one time, I'm going to try a second, third. I'm gonna try 100 times. And of course I'm going to box with him, I'm going to kick with him."
Khabib is second to just Jon Jones in the UFC pound-for-pound rankings but UFC president Dana White admitted he could become the greatest of all time.
White said: "Khabib's a big superstar. But if he beats Justin, he's on his way to GOAT status.
"He's looking down the barrel of not only being the greatest to ever do it in this division but being the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world."
Khabib sent rival Conor McGregor a classy message to insist the Irishman is better than his upcoming rival.
But the Notorious did not return the favour, insisting the UFC champ may well get knocked out by Gaethje.
The fight will be shown live on BT Sport Box Office with customers needing to pay £19.95 to access the showdown.
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