Khabib Nurmagomedov thinks Charles Oliveira is starting to feel the pressure ahead of his lightweight title fight against Islam Makhachev at UFC 280.
Oliveira recently labeled Makhachev and his team ‘arrogant,’ but Khabib thinks ‘Do Bronx’ might be slightly confused because Makhachev and Co. are taking him very seriously as an opponent despite Oliveira’s claims to the contrary.
Nurmagomedov, who coaches Makhachev at American Kickboxing Academy (AKA), clapped back at Oliveira during a recent interview with Sambo Says and said the Brazilian’s comments might be indicative of an underlying inferiority complex.
“First of all, how can you disparage the man who won the Fighter of the Year award in 2022?” Khabib said of Oliveira (h/t Middle Easy). “So no one is disparaging him. 11 fights in a row he has won with so many finishes,” Nurmagomedov said. “I think it is silly to think we’re underestimating this fight. This is a very hard fight first of all.
“Second, tell me in what interview did he refer to him with arrogance? He always referred to him as a champion. If we say that we want to finish the fight early I don’t see arrogance in that. I don’t see arrogance in that at all. We have a plan. We want to finish the fight early. I think that Charles also has a plan and that he also wants to finish Islam.
“I think he also wants to hit his opponent in the face and use his kicks, knees, punches, and elbows. Right? He wants to choke his opponent out, break their bones, etc. That’s the reason we step into the Octagon right? So what is that not arrogance from his side? That he wants to beat Islam Makhachev? Am I right?”
“What we’re talking about is true right? So tell me who offended him?” Khabib added. “Not Ali, not myself, no one insulted him. Definitely not Islam, he has never insulted anyone I don’t see any kind of arrogance here. I simply think he’s starting to feel the pressure of the fight. You know when you’re trying to fight someone, for example, someone like Gaethje, or Chandler or Poireir you know that they have already lost in the past. You can see their pluses and minuses and you can identify the “switch” in their fight that leads them to victory or defeat.
“So what I believe, and this is solely my point of view, is he may consider this arrogance as well but it doesn’t matter, it appears to me that he looks at Islam and can’t find that “switch” so because of that he gets nervous. He starts to talk about this so-called arrogance and so on but who does this really concern? On October 22 he steps into the cage and we plan on finishing him whether he likes it or not.”
UFC 280: Oliveira vs. Makhachev is scheduled to take place on Oct. 22 at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.