This weekend’s UFC 254 looks to be one of the biggest events of 2020 in MMA. And it all comes down to one very, very intriguing fight.
Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has been dominant through all 28 fights in a career that began back in 2008. Upon his arrival to the UFC in 2012, he embarked on a win streak nearly unparalleled in lightweight history (with the exception of rival Tony Ferguson’s 12-fight run between 2013 and 2019).
Rarely has “The Eagle” lost a round. Rarely has he looked to be in danger.
Come this weekend, it will not be Tony Ferguson challenging Khabib for lightweight gold. Instead, it will be interim lightweight champ Justin Gaethje, whose dismantling of “El Cucuy” at UFC 249 may have been the best fight of his career. A fighter known for brutal wars and incurring as much damage as he tends to dish out looked completely re-invented and picked Ferguson apart, battering him across five round — or just shy of five rounds, when the ref finally saved Ferguson from his own toughness.
Gaethje now represents perhaps the biggest threat of Khabib’s career. It’s not hyperbole, or a UFC marketing gimmick. Gaethje is power in his hands and top-notch wrestling credentials. He’ll enter the underdog, but the “what if” factor ahead of UFC 254 is huge.
On Wednesday, the promotion brought out the two lightweight stars for a pre-fight press conference, the last stop, more or less, in the promotional effort behind the biggest lightweight fight of the year.
Catch the live stream of the UFC 254 pre-fight press conference above, starting at 9AM ET.