Former UFC middleweight and light heavyweight challenger Chael Sonnen broke down the matchup between Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0) and Justin Gaethje (22-2) set to take place this Saturday in Abu Dhabi.
Sonnen, who has worked with the UFC as a color commentator, usually breaks down fights and important news on his Youtube channel needless to say, that he was sure to cover this one as it might be the biggest fight of the year. Sonnen started the video by saying that this fight was not going to be close no matter who wins, before adding his personal opinion of both fighters’ skills.
“I will start by telling you this, this fight is not gonna be close. But I don’t know who’s going to inforce their will, it‘s just a very different fight. If Justin Gaethje can start landing those kicks and landing those punches and getting out of the way and using dirty boxing, dirty muy thai…if he can do that, he can control this fight top to bottom.”
“The other side of it is if Khabib takes him down. And if Gaethje gets up even one time he will be different.” Sonnen said, “Gaethje made a statement a while ago that I think is right. He said “if I kick Khabib four times I’ll change him” he’s right. If Khabib takes you down once, you’re going to be changed. You will get up drained, you will get now respecting and worrying about the takedown which is what makes you susceptible to the punches and the kicks of Khabib. If you can’t find the way to keep space and allow Khabib to march you down it’s going to be a one way fight, the same as 28 fights we’ve seen before that Khabib has been involved with.“
Sonnen then talked about the difficulty for Khabib to fight after losing his father and how it might affect him.
“When you talk about the fight game being mostly mental, a large part of mental is emotional and it also draws you into classic storyline from hollywood and rocky balboa to real life of Mike Tyson and cusamato. It’s a very real thing to lose your trainer, who’s your father and we’ve seen this with other guys and i feel like i have a pass to talk about something so sensitive because i went through it by the way. But i can just look back at Jake shields fight with Jake Ellenberger and Jake Sheilds is a stud and Ellenberger’s a stud, the line on that fight was not close. Shield was suppose to go whips ellenberger’s ass it didn’t get out of the first round but Sheilds also wasn’t there he was only there in body wasnt there he lost his father four days before.” Sonnen then added, “To act as though it’s going to be the same Khabib is not true. To act as though it’s going to be a worse Khabib might be the death of anybody and I know that Gaethje isn’t making that mistake. Gaethje came out this morning and he said look i think we’re going to see a very energized and a very motivated khabib. we will not know till this fight is over, but i tend to lean towards the side of the coin that Gaethje is on. I think there has been enough time and there is enough respect and there’s enough nostalgia and there’s enough reason and motivation. I do beleive this is going to be a very fantastic. We know how strong Khabib is here right. We’ve seen this is a mental battle this is a mental drill, mental exercise.”
I have never seen Khabib not able to take somebody down, but i also never seen khabib lose a fight on his feet. I’ve seen Khabib on his feet for less than 11 minutes that’s in 28 contests less than 11 minutes. I understand those things. But in those 11 minutes he did put his right hand on Conor Mcgregor and put him on his ass which is something Floyd Mayweather couldn’t do in 30 minutes. With in those 11 minutes six of them were against Al Iaquinta where people came away and said that he look like an amatuer on his feet. Al is one son of a B’tch but Khabib won those six minutes.
Sonnen then went on to give his final prediction of the fight.
“Once again I will remind you, my official prediction: this is going to be a fun fight and it’s a meaningful fight. When the night is over it’s going to be a very clear fight one way or the other. The way that I am leaning: Khabib.”
Sonnen is going with the favorite due to his wrestling advantage and his underrated skills on the feet. But he does think that whoever wins this fight is going to win it by a landslide.