UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is set to face the interim champion Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 on October 24. In the buildup to this fight, both Khabib and Gaethje expressed their intentions coming into this title bout. But the relationship between the two fighters seemed pretty cordial compared to Nurmagomedov’s fight against Conor McGregor.
In an interview for RT Sport, a reporter asked Nurmagomedov about his the fact that Gaethje said that there’s no possibility of a conflict between Khabib and him. He was also curious about the status of the relationship between the two men.
“I’ve never wanted to have conflict before any fight. It’s completely unnecessary” said Nurmagomedov. “I’ve known Gaethje for a while since he fought in WSOF, then PFL”
Nurmagomedov then recalled a tough moment in his career where Gaethje was there for him. After three injuries he had to face Darrel Horcher of short Notice after Tony Ferguson had pulled out.
“Justin helped me cut weight.” said Nurmagomedov. “I had a tough weight cut. He helped me cut the last 2.5 kilograms in the morning before weigh-ins.”
“He helped me get out of the bath because there weren’t enough people to go around” Nurmagomedov continued. “Islam Makhachev was cutting weight and so was Omari Akhmedov, we were all fighting the same night”. “You need a couple of people around you and Justin was there for me, so I have no ill will towards him”.
“He fights (and) wants to be the best in the world and I respect his efforts. He achieved a lot in the sport and I think he’s a worthy opponent. You saw what he did to Tony Ferguson. I don’t underestimate him. It’s strictly professional. We’ll get in the cage, shake hands, handle our business and leave.”
He then added:
“It’s strictly profesional. We’ll get in the cage, shake hands, handle our business and leave.”
Moreover Khabib said Mcgregor is better striker than Justin Gaethje:
“But I kind of agree that Gaethje is a very good fighter. If he was bad he would not have fought for the belt. Is he better standing than Conor? I think no. My fighting IQ tells me that Conor is better standing than Gaethje.”