Thanks to a week full of madness, we finally have someone sitting atop the lightweight mountain who might actually defend his belt.
Yes, you can forget Conor McGregor and Tony Ferguson, because Khabib Nurmagomedov is now the man. And provided you don’t try to book him any fights during Ramadan, he’ll fight whoever you put in front of him.
This Saturday, UFC on FOX 29 will be headlined by Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje – two lightweights clawing their way up the 155-pound division ladder. They are closer to the top than most, so it’s conceivable that an impressive win (and maybe a rematch with Eddie Alvarez, who’s defeated them both) could have them kneeling before Nurmagomedov’s throne petitioning the king for an audience.
Can either Poirier or Gaethje beat Khabib?
Well, from what we’ve seen of the champ, if you can’t survive his unearthly ground and pound, you’re toast. However, his striking is still a work in a progress. So any challenger is going to need just the right mixture of skill and resilience. According to Alvarez, Poirier is the more skilled of the UFC on FOX 29 main events, while Gaethje is so damn resilient he’d die before giving up.
Therefore, it all comes down to whether or not Poirier can grit his teeth and bear the Dagestani’s wrestling offense long enough to use his superior boxing on the feet, or whether or not Gaethje is savvy enough to know how not to get submitted or TKO’d until he can get up.
Ponder this riddle while watching Poirier and Gaethje’s “Road to the Octagon” vid.