UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov called back to his antics at UFC 229 last year, saying he’ll stay in the cage at UFC 242 this September.
At the UFC 2019 Summer Press Conference in Las Vegas Friday, all the expected names were on hand. Max Holloway and Frankie Edgar (the latter of whom seemed to go unnoticed). Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic.Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker, who will headline UFC 243. And of course, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirier, booked for a lightweight title unification bout at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi.
The last time Nurmagomedov fought in the UFC is a day that will live in MMA infamy. The lightweight champ nearly sparked a riot when he scaled the octagon and jumped into the crowd to attack Conor McGregor’s corner at UFC 229 last October.
On Friday, ‘The Eagle’ promised a similar performance in the cage, but made sure to add that his efforts will stay confined to the octagon.
— Farzin Vousoughian (@Farzin21) July 5, 2019
“You guys remember the T-Mobile last time, what I did here?” Nurmagomedov asked the crowd in Las Vegas. “Nothing changed. I’m going to do this in Abu Dhabi too. Defend my title. But without jumping.”
One would certainly hope so, given Abu Dhabi may be slightly less forgiving than Nevada, where the UFC has a close working relationship with the state athletic commission. A commission that reduced the sentences of Nurmagomedov’s cronies Zubaira Tukhugov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov ahead of UFC 242, facilitating that champ’s return after the Russian threatened to sit out in their absence.
Turning his attention to his newest opponent, “about Dustin Poirier, Dustin is tough guy. He have more than 20 fights in the UFC, he have good experience,” said Nurmagomedov. “Honestly last fight I expect Max [Holloway] is going to beat him [at UFC 236], this one is a little bit a surprise for me. He have good boxing, good footwork.”
However, the champ cautioned, “last six fights, he fights only striking guys. He never fight with guy who all the time [is] wrestling with him. I think it’s going to be [a] tough night for him. This is my opinion. Because you have to be ready. I’m going to wrestle with him all night, make him tired, make him tap. This is my plan.”
Poirier then interjected, saying “I don’t get tired buddy.” We’ll know if that’s true come Septemeber.
Asked what type of champ he intends to be, with retirement talk swirling, Khabib later added that “I just want to maul people. This is what I want to do.” Regardless of who is standing across from him in the octagon. “Doesn’t matter, Dustin, Tony, or other opponents, doesn’t matter. When I go to the cage, I maul my opponents. All my life, 27-0. People talk about his six [fight] win streak, what about 27 [fight] win streak? Eleven years undefeated. I don’t underestimate this guy, I know he’s a tough challenge, but this guy’s not in my league.”
UFC 242 takes place September 2 in Abu Dhabi at a venue to be named later.