Justin Gaethje has a gargantuan task ahead of him when he faces Khabib Nurmagomedov according to former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker.
Gaethje will look to become the undisputed lightweight champion when he meets Nurmagomedov in a title unification fight in the UFC 254 headliner on October 24.
Many feel Gaethje has what it takes stylistically to defeat Nurmagomedov thanks to his power and wrestling credentials. But for Whittaker, beating “The Eagle” is easier said than done, especially when everyone knows what he is going to do and is still unable to stop him.
As for how one can actually defeat Nurmagomedov? “The Reaper” laid out some possible methods but even then, still believes they are unlikely.
“How do you beat him? You catch him. You can’t catch him! Because he’s got a chin made out of granite,” Whittaker told Submission Radio. “You’d have to catch him as he’s diving forward with a flying knee and it has to be massive. And I’m pretty sure even while he’s half out, he’ll still shoot for a single and grab it.
“I just don’t see it. Honestly, I the only way I think you can beat Khabib is if you fought fire with fire — and that’s if you tried outwrestling him, you took it to him in the wrestling. But how do you outwrestle Khabib? I think that’s the only way, though. To spam wrestle him because it stops him from being offensive so you be offensive on him and mate, that’s hard. You got to turn it into a five-round wrestling match.”
Whittaker: Gaethje Will Be Tougher Test For Khabib
Gaethje certainly has the ability to try and outwrestle Nurmagomedov.
However, “The Highlight” is more known for his brawling and has even admitted in the past that he doesn’t prefer to wrestle because of how taxing it is.
Despite that, Whittaker also had praise for Gaethje — especially given how he’s performed in his recent four-fight winning streak — and believes he will provide one of the tougher tests for Nurmagomedov in recent times.
However, he is still seemingly going with a Nurmagomedov win.
“He’s [Gaethje] such a good fighter,” Whittaker concluded. “I think honestly, he’s going to give Khabib one of his toughest tests for sure.”