UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has a lot of respect for Justin Gaethje, but that won’t stop him from attempting to smash the human highlight-reel when they meet in October.
On Monday, Gaethje was in Los Angeles spending some time with UFC color commentator Joe Rogan while getting in a workout with his head coach Trevor Wittman. Rogan posted a short video on his Instagram calling Gaethje a “savage” after witnessing his training session with Wittman.
In response, Nurmagomedov dropped into the comments to offer Gaethje a not so subtle reminder of the war ahead of him in the lightweight title unification bout at UFC 254.
“Justin is a very nice guy and good opponent for me, but when octagon close he have to be ready not only boxing match, I’m not Dustin [Poirier] or Tony [Ferguson],” Nurmagomedov wrote on Instagram. “I will take him to the deepest ocean and drown him.”
That’s an ominous warning from Nurmagomedov, who has largely dominated every single one of the 28 fights on his resume.
In fact, the undefeated Russian has only lost one round during his entire UFC career. That came in the third round of his fight against Conor McGregor … and then Nurmagomedov finished the fight in the fourth round with a submission.
Rarely does Nurmagomedov try to disguise his game plan to take his opponents to the ground and maul them but it will be an interesting test with Gaethje, who’s a former Division I NCAA All-American wrestler from his time at the University of Northern Colorado.
Currently, Nurmagomedov is training close to home in Dagestan, but it’s expected that he will travel back to the United States to work with his coaches and teammates at the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif., before facing Gaethje in October.