Although Khabib Nurmagomedov hasn’t captured the same level of fanfare as other rising stars like say Conor McGregor, that doesn’t mean “The Eagle” hasn’t been extremely impressive thus far in the Octagon. Not only has the Sambo world champ won four straight bouts since arriving in the UFC, but his last two wins over Abel Trujillo and Thiago Tavares were particularly compelling. This is also a man who holds a win over established vet Gleison Tibau, who has tested or defeated many highly regarded fighters.
At UFC 165, of course, Nurmagomedov will take on Pat Healy, whose toughness and feared grappling game has also bested plenty of top tier talent, including perennial lightweight contender Jim Miller ( no-contest aside….). In recent interview with MMA Junkie.com, the Russian fighter had this to say about Healy and how he’s been preparing for “Bam Bam”.
“I’ve got a lot of surprises for this guy,” Nurmagomedov said through a translator. “I’ve got my own plan, and I’m pretty good at breaking plans as well and breaking guys in the cage.”
“I’ve been working a lot with Josh Thomson, Jon Fitch and Jake Shields avoiding those types of situations,” Nurmagomedov said. “I’ve been working on my defense against the takedowns and working against the cage in the clinch, so I’m ready for that situation.”
Those are definitely men that could give a fighter some solid pointers. If Nurmagomedov defeats Healy, who is ranked #10 in the lightweight division, it’s possible the 24 year-old could be booked to fight a top five fighter next. Nurmagomedov also relayed in the interview that he believes he’s deserving of a title shot if he wins, but that’s likely not going to happen.
UFC 165 will be hosted by Toronto’s Air Canada Centre on September 21st. Stay tuned to Caged Insider.com for all your coverage.