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UFC 254’s Khabib: ‘I think my fight IQ is much better than Justin Gaethje’s’

Khabib Nurmagomedov is confident going into his fight with Justin Gaethje at UFC 254.

Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov Memory Tournament (Fight Nights Global/GFC) in Moscow Photo by Sergei Savostyanov\TASS via Getty Images

UFC 254 is on the horizon, and one of the bigger lightweight fights of the past few years will serve as the headliner. Today, main event combatants Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje engaged is the event’s pre-fight (virtual) media day, and Khabib came across as quite confident going into their title unification bout.

When asked what he brings to the table that will win him the fight, Khabib pulled few punches on Gaethje (transcribed by MMA Mania):

“I don’t think it’s going to be a chess match, you know? I think my fight IQ is much better than Justin Gaethje’s. He’s just a tough guy. He likes fighting. He likes blood, you know? He’s like a real warrior. But when we talk about fighting IQ, I think my fighting IQ is much better than his, you know?”

As Nurmagomedov continued, he seemed to credit much of Gaethje’s success to his coach, Trevor Wittman, and used that another reason why his own fight IQ is superior over Gaethje’s:

“I think Justin, he has a very good coach – just my opinion,” Nurmagomedov said. “He has a great coach. If you can watch his last fight with Tony Ferguson, having cornered him, (Wittman) gave him very good advice. I think he has a very good and very great coach. Of course, Justin can fight. He can go deep. He has heart. But if you’re talking about fighting IQ, I think I have much better than him.”

Khabib had a bold prediction for their matchup - he thinks he can gas Gaethje out and end the fight before the final horn:

“I’m going to try wrestling with him,” Nurmagomedov said. “If he’s going to defend my takedown one time, I’m going to try second, third, 100 times. Of course, I’m going to box with him and kick with him. It’s going to be kickboxing and wrestling – like, mixed. My goal is to make him tired. I’m going to make him tired. This is my goal. Maybe in Round No. 3 or Round No. 4, my plan is (to) finish him.”

UFC 254 goes down on October 24th on Fight Island.