One of the greatest grappling coaches, John Danaher is giving Khabib Nurmagomedov a huge compliment.
Fans of the UFC know just how important it is to have great grappling skills in the sport of MMA. Some people just want to see hard hits and knockouts, but the real followers of the sport can appreciate the beauty of great grappling. One man who is known to be one of the best grappling coaches on the planet is John Danaher. He has taught some of the best fighters who hold the best ground games in the business. He is reflecting on who he believes is the best grappler of all time and it should not surprise fight fans that the man he is naming is a former UFC champion.
Danaher has been on the mats with some of the best fighters to have ever lived. He has trained the likes of Georges St-Pierre, Chris Weidman, Gordon Ryan, and more. He is trained in Gracie jiu-jitsu under Renzo Gracie and following the end of his own MMA career, has been making sure the best martial artists are always prepared for battle. In a recent interview with Lex Fridman, Danaher was asked about Khabib Nurmagomedov, to which Danaher could not hold back.
“He’s one of the greatest combat athletes of all time,” he said. “He’s absolutely a master of exerting control. The amount of grappling control he was able to put over some of the most difficult people in the world, control was truly astounding. He beat people from every style, he’d beat wrestlers. He’d be jujitsu players, he’d be kickboxers, and he controlled them all in more or less the same way. He has a very underrated bottom game, people think. oh, he’s just about stifling top control. But people forget he was taken down on several occasions and ended up in bottom position.”
John Danaher gushes over Khabib Nurmagomedov’s grappling skills
Danaher explains that Nurmagomedov was taken down in his career, whether that be in practice or in competition but his vast knowledge of wrestling kept him from being submitted. Nurmagomedov retired with a record of 29-0, so no one was ever able to completely figure him out. Now he is passing that knowledge on to the next generation. Even though Nurmagomedov is now the teacher, Danaher thinks his skills and technique may remain too advanced for some.
“I think for most people, for the vast majority of people, it would have to be explained to them. For a smaller group of people, if they felt it, they could try to replicate it. And there are a few people who could look at it and have enough knowledge and say, Okay, I can see what he’s doing,” he said. Like for example, Roger (Gracie) could probably look at video footage of Khabib grappling and say, Okay, I understand what he’s doing. But the average person it would probably go over their heads.”
The world will see if Nurmagomedov has been able to pass his knowledge down to his pupal Islam Makhachev on Oct. 22 when he takes on Charles Oliveira in the UFC lightweight title bout.
Watch the entire interview here: