Las Vegas, NV – One of the quietest runs in the UFC belongs to bantamweight Said Nurmagomedov who looks to get a win in his first fight of 2023 when he faces Jonathan Martinez at UFC Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Nurmagomedov (17-2) doesn’t think he has to rely on his wrestling to defeat Martinez in Las Vegas. It’s obviously his best weapon, but he says he can strike with Martinez as well.
“Yeah he’s a great stand up fighter, but I’m also a good stand up fighters so I think it’s going to be a very firey fight, a good fight, an interesting fight. The octagon will show, we’ll see,” Nurmagomedov told reporters through a translator on Wednesday.
With a 4-fight win streak coming into Saturday night’s fight Nurmagomedov may finally be on deck to fight ranked opponents and climb his way up the ladder.
“I’ve been ready to fight the top competition for a long time. It’s just that for some reason I wasn’t given that competition. Even those guys that I did fight, that are not in the top yet, they’re not any worse than the top fighters,” he said.
“I’ve been ready for a long time.”
With only three months since his last bout, a submission victory over Saidyokub Kakhramonov in December, the short turnaround doesn’t bother the Dagestani fighter.
“This is great timing for me. I’m ready. I don’t do too much weight dropping so I’m good on my weight. As long as I don’t have any injuries, nothing that prevents me from fighting often, then that’s what I like to do,” said Nurmagomedov.
With the UFC still working on getting to arenas around the world following the COVID pandemic many of Nurmagomedov’s recent fights have been at the UFC APEX. The unique part of this card is that it’s in Las Vegas, but not at the APEX and that means a crowd for the fighters.
“It doesn’t really matter to me where to fight, but I’m excited about the new spot because it’s going to be more like an arena-style fight. There’s going to be more people. The APEX is good, but it’s kind of small so I’m excited to see a little bit of a crowd,” Nurmagomedov said.
Being in the bantamweight division Nurmagomedov will be watching the main event between Petr Yan and Merab Dvalishvili closely.
“I’m not really sure who’s going to win. They’re both pretty great fighters, and I think it’s a 50-50 choice. The difference is that Yan has experience going five rounds. He’s fought five rounds before and he’s shown himself really well in five rounds. So that’s something that he has privilege over when it comes to Merab,” he said.
“I’m not sure if Merab is going to be good for all five rounds. Obviously he’s had three-round wars, but will he have enough functionality for the entire five? We know that Yan will. It’s going to be an exciting fight and I’m interested to see who’s going to win.”
Watch the entire media day scrum with Said Nurmagomedov above. He takes on Jonathan Martinez at UFC Las Vegas on Saturday night.