UFC 254: What’s it prefer to struggle Khabib Nurmagomedov? ‘One thing I’ve by no means felt earlier than’

Need to know what it is prefer to compete towards Khabib Nurmagomedov within the Octagon? Ask somebody who thought he would take it simple as a result of he was about 70 kilos heavier — solely to appreciate he wanted to provide it extra fuel when sparring with Nurmagomedov. Ask Daniel Cormier.

“There have been occasions when Khabib was quick on coaching companions, and I will go in there and spar him, mild, I am not going exhausting,” Cormier stated. “However actually, you may’t go as mild with Khabib as you’d need. He is not the traditional 155-pounder. He is huge, and he is sturdy.

“He can wrestle, so that you type of have to provide him slightly bit greater than you’d typically give slightly man, however that is what makes him so particular. He could be standing throughout the Octagon from me, and that is once I was the heavyweight champion of the world, and I’d go in there and spar with him slightly, and that dude had no worry. I type of have to provide slightly bit greater than I’d usually give slightly dude, as a result of this dude’s truly attempting to win.”

Cormier and Nurmagomedov have been teammates at American Kickboxing Academy since Nurmagomedov joined the UFC in 2012. When Nurmagomedov defends his light-weight belt towards interim champ Justin Gaethje on Saturday, Cormier might be Octagon-side working the struggle as a commentator. And Cormier is aware of what Gaethje can anticipate.

“He is getting higher at controlling, which is absurd, as a result of I do not assume I’ve ever seen a man higher at prime management in my life,” Cormier, a former Olympic wrestler and UFC champ at mild heavyweight and heavyweight, stated of Nurmagomedov. “He is getting higher along with his strain on prime. He is higher at chasing the finishes as soon as he will get on prime, as a result of for some time, he was simply beating guys up. He wasn’t ending them as a lot as he wished to. However now he is getting finishes.

“He is getting higher at studying to govern all the pieces. All that management that Khabib does along with his legs now, it wasn’t like that earlier than. He was a wrestling man, like me; we had been attempting to manage all the pieces with our arms and squeezing. And through the years, he developed the power to manage along with his legs, and it utterly modified the sport.”

Listed below are six of Nurmagomedov’s previous seven opponents describing what it is prefer to know what’s coming from Nurmagomedov however being unable to cease it.

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Khabib Nurmagomedov controls Dustin Poirier with grappling and hits him with some ground-and-pound late in Spherical 1. For extra UFC, join right here for ESPN+ http://plus.espn.com/ufc.

Dustin Poirier

Misplaced by way of third-round submission on Sept. 7, 2019. (Watch this fight on ESPN+)

“It is simply so exhausting to get your footwork happening a man like Khabib, who simply bull-rushes and places you towards the fence, and his talent stage towards the fence is one thing I’ve by no means felt earlier than.

“His understanding of stability, the way in which he makes use of his journeys, his weight distribution — it is exhausting to clarify to somebody who’s by no means been pressed up towards the fence in a fight state of affairs. The man is nice.

“If Justin can use his footwork, use his wrestling within the open, I believe Justin would possibly be capable of out-wrestle him within the open. However towards the fence, I do not assume so.”

Al Iaquinta

Misplaced by way of unanimous resolution on April 7, 2018, after taking the struggle on quick discover.

“Khabib is unorthodox on the ft. Though it’d look slightly — I do not need to name it ‘amateurish’ — it is an issue. He is an issue. He is acquired a great chin. You have a look at Edson Barboza, that man is world class, and Khabib made him look regular.

“I did not need to get taken down, however I imply, I simply went for it. Proper after the primary bell, I went straight ahead. The distinction with me is I did not discover out I used to be combating him till what, 24 hours earlier than. I used to be identical to, ‘ what? Let’s simply rock. Let’s go.’ I did not have a priority on this planet. I simply went on the market and winged it.”

Edson Barboza

Misplaced by way of unanimous resolution on Dec. 30, 2017.

“I believe he is very sturdy. He is mentally very sturdy. All people is aware of his recreation. All people is aware of his recreation plan. And he goes there and [does] it.

“I believe that makes him completely different than different guys. All people is aware of what he thinks in regards to the struggle, what he is doing within the struggle. All people is aware of that — and no one can cease him. I believe he is undoubtedly top-of-the-line of all time in light-weight.”

Michael Johnson

Misplaced by way of third-round submission on Nov. 12, 2016.

“It was nothing loopy I have never seen earlier than, however I used to be nervous about his takedowns fairly a bit. I wasn’t actually comfy. I saved my hips again as I threw punches and was leaving myself prolonged as a result of I did not need to step into something. I used to be nervous about his shot. If I had simply centered on myself, I believe it might have been a special story.

“Throughout my camp, I had fairly a bit of individuals in my ear about his wrestling, how good it was, how good his management was — if I did not have these individuals in my ear with all that bulls—, I do not assume I’d have had such a difficulty. It wasn’t even his wrestling that was an issue, it was undoubtedly his prime management. I believe he provides you decisions. You’ll be able to defend punches, or you may attempt to stand up, or you may attempt to get your wrists free. He is all the time attacking and holding the place. He seems like a rattling middleweight, and I used to be a smaller light-weight.

“Individuals speak in regards to the left hand I landed, however I by no means actually thought I damage him as unhealthy as everybody thought I did. You see various things once you’re within the cage, and I did not see Khabib getting damage. I bear in mind him taking a great punch. That wasn’t my greatest left hand as a result of, once more, my hips had been again and I did not step in with a number of energy as a result of I used to be nervous in regards to the takedown.”

Darrell Horcher

Misplaced by way of second-round TKO on April 16, 2016, after taking the struggle on quick discover.

“I would not say he is bodily that sturdy. I’ve fought people who find themselves stronger. However he is relentless along with his Sambo [Russian martial art]. As quickly as we hit the bottom, I could not transfer.

“He is actually good at getting his head off middle as he is available in. I prepare with actually good wrestlers, and you’ll time takedowns with a shot, however he was excellent at getting his head out of the way in which. There was no approach I may hit him. The timing off his photographs is nice, however he isn’t a lot of a wrestler in that preliminary shot. It is extra of a solution to chain into his Sambo. I acquired my hips out on his first shot, however he by no means stops. He’ll simply observe you wherever you find yourself and work you down.

“I prepare with mild heavyweights and heavyweights, and that is the closest I’ve ever felt to his prime recreation. You get a light-weight heavyweight who most likely weighs 230 kilos within the health club on prime of you — it felt about the identical to that. His ft had been in concrete. I went again to my nook, and I bear in mind going, ‘Yep. You’ll be able to’t transfer him when he will get on prime of you.’ They usually simply stated, ‘Properly, do not let him get on prime of you.’ I used to be so drained. His strain simply sucks the wind out of you. Even should you’re in form, and I used to be off form from taking it on quick discover, it simply sucks it out of you.”

Rafael dos Anjos

Misplaced by way of unanimous resolution on April 19, 2014.

“He has good waist management. I felt like he type of centered on holding me down, as a result of after that struggle, I did not have one scratch on me. I even known as my supervisor and requested to struggle once more immediately. I fought 49 days later.

“I bear in mind for that struggle, I skilled little or no wrestling, which was considered one of my errors. I assumed I’d be capable of preserve it standing, however he is a great wrestler. He is been taking all people down within the UFC.”

Editor’s word: Some quotes had been beforehand printed.

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