Kenny Florian has a hot take: Ryan Hall can beat Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Florian recently spoke with Kajan Johnson and Shakiel Mahjouri on the Pull No Punches podcast. The three-time UFC title challenger was asked to name the fighters who could present the most potent threat to Nurmagomedov’s undefeated streak.
“Ryan Hall,” Florian stated. “It sounds crazy because he’s a 145-pounder, but you either need to be an absolute ninja on the ground, right? You need someone who can always put you on defense — someone like a Ryan Hall on the ground. Or you need someone who can absolutely keep it on the feet.”
Florian and Hall have been working closely for years now. Florian served as one of the cornermen for Hall’s lopsided decision win over Darren Elkins at UFC Sacramento. So what is so unique about Hall’s approached to mixed martial arts?
“It’s all about hitting and not being hit. How do you fight at your most effective form all the while protecting yourself?” Florian asked. “If you look at what is the heart of martial arts: first is not taking damage. At the core of all those things is a tremendous amount of complexity. What often seems simple can often take a complex route. Ryan is very much rooted in hardcore principals across the board, not just in striking and jiu-jitsu.”
Hall was not the only fighter Florian mentioned. “We have Georges St-Pierre. He does have a very high level of wrestling. He’s also very big. That probably not going to happen. GSP it seems is retired for good now. As he should, he absolutely deserves that and has done everything in the sport that you can do,” he said before naming another active fighter. “Justin Gaethje. He comes from a wrestling background and he does hit extremely hard. I think he’s one of the few guys who might be able to give Khabib a tough time. If he does stuff the takedowns he does have the power in the striking to knockout Khabib.”
Before we ever see Nurmagomedov fight Hall, Gaethje or St-Pierre, he will have to defend his UFC lightweight title against interim champion Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi on Sept. 7.