Daniel Cormier knows Khabib Nurmagomedov has his work cut out for him against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254.
Gaethje is one of the most ferocious strikers in the lightweight division and packs some of the meanest leg kicks in the game, having finished three of his fights via leg kick TKO.
On top of that, Gaethje has a strong wrestling pedigree and graduated from Safford High School with a 191-9 record, so don’t expect to see ‘The Highlight’ easily manhandled on the mat like so many of Nurmagomedov’s previous opponents.
Cormier, who trains with Khabib at American Kickboxing Academy (AKA), says Gaethje may in fact be Nurmagomedov’s toughest opponent to date.
“I think he’s going to fight his toughest opponent,” Cormier told Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole in a recent interview. “I think the vast majority of the world feels that this is the toughest guy for him at 155 [pounds]. I think he’ll be OK. His ability to train and prepare for this and continue to work toward the goal that him and his father had together will allow him to maybe come to terms with everything that’s happening around him.
“Sometimes you need distractions and you need motivations in different forms. I think Khabib will use [his father’s death] as motivation. He’s a professional. He’s a pro’s pro and he’s going to prepare himself to the best of his ability.”
UFC 254: Khabib vs. Gaethje will take place on Oct. 24 at a TBD location.