Categories
Lifestyle

UFC 254: Khabib 'destroyed everybody' on first day in gym and thought 'relax' meant 'go harder' due to lack of English

KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV'S trainer revealed how the UFC superstar showed no mercy in the gym due to a lack of English.

Coach Javier Mendez has helped inspire the Russian to an undefeated 28-0 record ahead of his title showdown with Justin Gaethje tonight.

Now considered one the best in the business, Mendez reveals how he first spotted Khabib's remarkable talent at the American Kickboxing Academy gym in 2012.

Speaking to The National News, he said: "The very first day he came into my gym. He destroyed everybody. He just smashed everybody.

"He didn't really understand any English whatsoever.

"The funniest thing is that people would ask, ‘How good is Khabib?’ I'd go, ‘Man, that guy's unbelievable.

"I just wish he'd listen. Because every time I tell him 'relax, relax, the guy goes crazy on me’.

"Well, later he comes back and goes, ‘Coach, I don't understand. I thought that meant go harder. So I used to go harder’.

“People don’t really understand when I tell him I’ve never seen him lose a sparring session. Everybody loses sparring sessions. Not him.

"You might win a round or so. I've had that happen, but they don't win the session."


 

Khabib is within touching distance of fulfilling his late father’s dream of retiring after 30 unbeaten fights.

And Mendez exclusively told SunSport how Tony Ferguson could be next in line after the pair had FIVE fights scrapped.

Ferguson then lost the interim title fight after losing to Gaethje in May.

Mendez said: "Tony would be a good reason to keep Khabib on track. In his heart I think Khabib wants to give Tony the opportunity.

"But I don't think the UFC will give Tony the fight without going back and beating somebody first."

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Lifestyle

Khabib Nurmagomedov reveals he's 'coming to England' to watch Man Utd & Liverpool after UFC 254 clash vs Justin Gaethje

KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV is planning on coming to England to watch Manchester United and Liverpool after knocking out Justin Gaethje.

The Russian UFC star puts his lightweight title on the line tonight against the American on Fight Island.

He heads into the scrap as favourite as he looks to stretch his undefeated record to 29 wins.

And despite the ongoing pandemic, the 32-year-old is already making plans to celebrate his success next month.

A huge football fan, Khabib revealed he wants to watch the Premier League's big-hitters in action.

Speaking to BT Sport, he said: "I am going to come to England. After this fight, I am going to travel a lot.

“I really want to watch a lot of games – Manchester [United], Liverpool, Manchester City.

“I know they have big stadiums and a lot of history.

“I really want to come in November, when they have a great match."

Khabib was referring to Man City's mouthwatering clash with title holders Liverpool on November 8.


The lightweight champ admitted he dreamed of becoming a footballer as a child and prefers the sport to MMA.

His passion saw him meet up with Cristiano Ronaldo where he picked his brain on the keys to success as an elite athlete.

He told UFC Russia: "When I met Cristiano, I had so many questions to ask. I wanted to know how he was able to maintain his desire to be the best for 17 years straight.

"Since 2003 he has been at the highest level and every time at the end of the season he is in the top-ten players ranking list.

"Moreover, he was the best for seven or eight years straight in Europe and in the world. He won the Golden Ball five times, won the Champions League five times.

"He won everything while he was in Manchester United and Real Madrid. Two world class football leagues. He won everything.

"I was wondering how he managed to achieve it. As far as I understand it, his internal energy, desire, motivation, discipline, recovery techniques, regime, nutrition – he combines all of it.

"For me, football is the number one sport.

"When I was a child, I dreamed of being a football player and I have always watched football.

"In a way, football is better [than mixed martial arts], you don't have to fight or smash somebody – you just go onto grass and show everyone what you are capable of doing professionally.

"Of course, it is hard but I like it more, more than UFC, more than MMA."

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Lifestyle

Khabib sheds 'more than a STONE in just a few days' in extreme weight cut for UFC 254 fight against Justin Gaethje

KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV shed more than a STONE in just a few days in an extreme move to make weight for his UFC 254 fight against Justin Gaethje, according to reports.

The Russian star, 32, takes on Gaethje in Saturday night's mega-clash on Fight Island.


And world champion Khabib looked thoroughly relieved to have made the weight – after slashing well over a stone to reach his 155lb target.

He was forced to strip naked to get rid of as many ounces as possible – with his modesty only saved by a towel – before climbing on the scales.

Khabib was visibly nervous, staring down anxiously before the 155lb reading was announced.

At that point Khabib ran his hands over his face in relief, realising he'd officially made weight.

The Russian has famously had issues shedding the pounds needed in the past – failing to reach the target at UFC 160 for his fight with Abel Trujillo and at UFC 209 ahead of his Tony Ferguson clash.

And according to Russian outlet TASS, Khabib was forced cut around 1st 5lb to get down to the magic 155lb mark.

On shedding the pounds, Nurmagomedov told BT Sport: "It was a hard night, like always.

"When I'm cutting weight, it's never going to be easy.


"Even if you cut a couple of pounds or you cut 20lbs, it's going to be the same. Cutting weight is always hard.

"When you're champion you have to show great example, you know?

"I want to be first everywhere.

"Even if I do some push-ups with my team-mates, when I go running through mountains, I want to be first always."

On the fight itself, Khabib confirmed he won't introduce a new strategy to beat Gaethje.

Confidently, he roared: "Nothing changes. I just want to make this guy tired and finish him. This is my plan."

On Thursday, Gaethje revealed he will force his mum to retire after this fight as he paid an emotional tribute to his parents.

The 31-year-old was also seen throwing away his interim lightweight belt as 'it means nothing'.

And, earlier this week, leaked footage revealed his game plan after it popped up in an official UFC blog.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Lifestyle

UFC 254 – Khabib vs Gaethje LIVE: Khabib weigh in relief on the scales – all the build-up and updates from Fight Island – The Sun

UFC 254 takes place this weekend with the MASSIVE lightweight world title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje.

Khabib returns to Octagon for the first time since September 2019 for the bout at the UFC's Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.

Follow ALL of the latest fight week build-up and updates below…

  • Richard Forrester

    WEIGH TOO CLOSE

    Khabib Nurmagomedov looked a very relieved man after learning he had made weight.

    The Russian weighed in at 11st 1lb ahead of his scrap with Justin Gaethje on Fight Island on Saturday night.

    Khabib looked a bag of nerves while he stood on the scales and waited.

    He then put his hands to his face after been given the green light to fight the American.

    See his reaction below…

  • Richard Forrester

    ROUND 'N POUND

    Khabib Nurmagomedov will put his unbeaten record and lightweight crown on the line at UFC 254.

    Standing in the opposite corner is interim champion Justin Gaethje, who is hoping to successfully unify his title.

    Nurmagomedov, 32, has emerged as a seemingly unstoppable force in the octagon, unbeaten in 28 fights.

    But Gaethje's heavy hands and standout college wrestling accolades have people tipping him to be Khabib's toughest test.

    Read how SunSport predicts of how each round could play out.

  • Richard Forrester

    JOHN TOP OF IT

    EXCLUSIVE: Frans Mlambo is out to prove John Kavanagh right after the trainer called him the 'fighter to watch out for'.

    Mlambo – a sparring partner of Conor McGregor's and product of Kavanagh's Straight Blast Gym in Ireland – is 8-5 in his MMA career.

    He recovered from losing two of his opening four bouts and now campaigns in the Bellator cage, where he has won three in four.

    Coach Kavanagh – who guided McGregor to two UFC titles – tipped Mlambo as the brightest prospect in his gym.

    Mlambo told SunSport: “I feel I've come along so much in my skillset. I was weak on the ground and that was my downfall and it gave me problems.

    “But I feel like I've mended the problems I had and going forward to get to where I want to get to, I don't feel like I have long.

    “I just need to make the right choices and this time next year, what I'm planning could happen if I play my cards right.

    “I've got some skills but when I get in there I show it but I feel like when the time comes I'm not as technical as I should be.

    “I feel like now my game has come along now where I can finally put on some really good stuff and I look forward to doing that.”

  • Richard Forrester

    FINE MARGINS

    Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje looked in phenomenal shape as they both weighed in at 11st 1lb.

    The UFC icons meet in Saturday night's mega-clash on Fight Island and their shredded physiques were on show for all to see on the scales.

    Footage from the weigh in was released this morning and Russian world champion Khabib looked thoroughly relieved to have made the weight.

    The 32-year-old stripped naked before climbing on the scales and he looked nervous until his weight was confirmed.

    He stared downward anxiously before the announcer read out the 155lb reading at which point Khabib's body language relaxed and he ran his hands over his face.

    Gaethje looked much more confident as he flexed his chiselled tattooed physique.

  • Richard Forrester

    GREG ON WITH IT

    Conor McGregor is NOT the most difficult fighter Dana White has to work with.

    The UFC boss has named Tyron Woodley as the 'hardest kid' to deal with following reports of a feud between the pair.

    He told reporters: “I would say the hardest kid that I ever dealt with, and everybody thinks that I don't like him, it has to be [Tyron] Woodley.

    “Woodley's the hardest kid I've ever dealt with.

    “I look at what he could have done and what he should have done.

    “Good-looking kid, physique, the whole thing, becomes a world champion, has that knockout power, has all the tools and everything else.

    “But it's just always pulling teeth with him and it's always about something else other than the fight.”

  • Jake Lambourne

    GOOD MORNING FIGHT FANS

    Tony Ferguson is adamant he will finally fight Khabib Nurmagomedov having had five fights axed between them.

    Lightweight champion Nurmagomedov admitted he doubts he will ever face Ferguson following the American's defeat in May.

    Justin Gaethje was only afforded the interim title bout after Russian Khabib was ruled out through travel restrictions.

    Ferguson told ESPN: “I see fear in his voice if he thinks he has to talk bad about people. “He can't put that s*** in my head.

    “I will fight Khabib at one point or another. He will see me before he retires. We'll make that a point.

    “I think everybody is writing me off after one loss, and f*** them. The casual fan base is trying to, but my hard-core fans are too much.

    “They know too much. My value is way too much.”

    Meanwhile, Nathaniel Wood is back on UFC Fight Island – for the second time this year.

    The Londoner travelled to Abu Dhabi in July and beat John Castaneda on points.

    It was the bantamweight's first fight since a loss in February to John Dodson.

    The super-active 27-year-old faces American Casey Kenney at UFC 254 – as he bids to elevate himself in the title picture.

    SunSport caught up with the promising Brit, who hails from Morden, to discuss what and who could be in his future.

    When asked on his upcoming bout during the pandemic he said: “Obviously I'm just blessed to be able to be in my third fight this year.

    “Considering the pandemic that's going on, I know there's a lot of guys struggling to get fights and being a fighter we need to fight to get paid, so the fact I'm doing it for the third time feels really good.

    “It will be nice to get a [£50,000] bonus before Christmas.”

    And finally, UFC chief Dana White says he is 'working on putting on a fight soon' as he makes a move into boxing.

    The outspoken promoter says his first 'Zuffa Boxing' show will take place at his Fight Island venue in Abu Dhabi.

    The MMA maestro teased a step into the sweet science last year but now looks set to make his bow in the sport.

    Speaking to UFC Arabia, the 51-year-old said: “I would say that Covid was a blessing for Zuffa Boxing. So I'm working on a fight right now that I'll be announcing soon.

    “I will be putting on a fight here soon in boxing. We’ll see how this thing goes.

    “I'm just dipping my toe into the water. I'm not diving into this head first. I think that I have a cool concept, and I’m going to give it a shot.”

  • Joe Brophy

    BETWEEN A B-ROCK AND A HARD PLACE

    Brock Lesnar has officially been added to UFC 4.

    The former heavyweight champion, had not appeared in a UFC video game since the inaugural EA Sports game way back in 2014.

    Lesnar, who boasts a four-star rating on the game,is also joined by flyweight contenders Jennifer Maia and Askar Askarov.

  • Joe Brophy

    A-TONE FOR

    Tony Ferguson wants the UFC to settle with him financially before he returns to the octagon.

    He told MMA Junkie: “I’m not going to bull*** anymore.

    “(UFC president) Dana (White) is cool. Me and Dana are chill. But when it comes down to it, I want to be paid what I’m worth, and my value has increased.

    “I put out there a lot of energy. I don’t have to talk about it. I don’t have to talk about my contracts and say (expletive) about it, because everybody else does that. I’m past that. I’ve been in this organization for 10-plus years.”

  • Joe Brophy

    ED FOR THE HILLS

    Leon Edwards has confirmed that he was bumped off the welterweight rankings due to inactivity.

    The 29-year-old, who hasn’t fought since July 20, 2019, was previously the No. 3 UFC welterweight.

  • Joe Brophy

    TALE OF THE TALE

    A reminder of how the two main-eventers compare before Saturday…

  • Joe Brophy

    TICK THE BOX

    UFC chief Dana White says he is 'working on putting on a fight soon' as he makes a move into boxing.

    The outspoken promoter says his first 'Zuffa Boxing' show will take place at his Fight Island venue in Abu Dhabi.

    The MMA maestro teased a step into the sweet science last year but now looks set to make his bow in the sport.

    Speaking to UFC Arabia, the 51-year-old said: “I would say that Covid was a blessing for Zuffa Boxing. So I'm working on a fight right now that I'll be announcing soon.

    “I will be putting on a fight here soon in boxing. We’ll see how this thing goes.

    “I'm just dipping my toe into the water. I'm not diving into this head first. I think that I have a cool concept, and I’m going to give it a shot.”

  • Joe Brophy

    GANNOU GET ANGRY

    Francis Ngannou has taken aim at the UFC after his fight with Stipe Miocic was reportedly delayed due to an injury.

    Dana White is willing to give the Cameroonian fighter, 34, a fresh shot at the heavyweight belt.

    But the No1 ranked challenger for Miocic's title was left annoyed by the prospect of having to wait until the spring to face his rival.

    The American, 38, is reportedly out until March, and Ngannou moaned at having only 20 seconds of octagon action in over a year.

    He tweeted: “Two title fights in the UFC heavyweight division for the past two years and yet we don't know if there will be another one anytime soon. Contenders have to fight for something.

    “Apparently Stipe is out until March. If I have to wait until then it'll be almost another year between fights.

    “I fought once for 20 seconds in the last 16 months thissucks.”

  • Richard Forrester

    WOOD YOU KNOW IT?

    Exclusive: Nathaniel Wood is back on UFC Fight Island – for the second time this year.

    The Londoner travelled to Abu Dhabi in July and beat John Castaneda on points.

    It was the bantamweight's first fight since a loss in February to John Dodson.

    The super-active 27-year-old faces American Casey Kenney at UFC 254 – as he bids to elevate himself in the title picture.

    SunSport caught up with the promising Brit, who hails from Morden, to discuss what and who could be in his future.

    When asked on his upcoming bout during the pandemic he said: “Obviously I'm just blessed to be able to be in my third fight this year.

    “Considering the pandemic that's going on, I know there's a lot of guys struggling to get fights and being a fighter we need to fight to get paid, so the fact I'm doing it for the third time feels really good.

    “It will be nice to get a [£50,000] bonus before Christmas.”

    READ THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE

  • Richard Forrester

    FIT FOR TWO KINGS

    UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov once visited Mike Tyson’s mansion before destroying Edson Barboza at UFC 219.

    Iron Mike – the youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history – was famed for his intimidating aura during his fighting heyday.

    The former Baddest Man on the Planet has since paid his respects to UFC superstar Khabib for his undefeated streak inside the Octagon.

    Tyson was memorably a guest at UFC 160 back in May 2013 that saw the Russian dominate Abel Trujillo on route to a unanimous decision win.

    And it seems the pair's relationship continued to grow outside the cage as the 54-year-old invited Khabib to his Las Vegas house four years later.

    Lightweight king Nurmagomedov, who battles Justin Gaethje on Saturday on Fight Island, then went on to score a unanimous decision victory over Barboza at UFC 219 in 2017.

    Speaking at the post-fight press conference, Khabib said: “The last time I was in Vegas I met with him inside his house. He invited me.

    “I am a big fan of Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali. And I want to be the greatest like these guys. Not only inside the cage but also outside.”

  • Richard Forrester

    NO WEIGH

    Leon Edwards has been removed from the welterweight rankings due to inactivity, reports say.

    Edwards – who was ranked No3 – has not fought since beating former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos in July 2019.

    As a result, he has been removed from the 170lb standings, according to TSN, with Belal Muhammad now 15th.

    Edwards, 29, was due to face former welterweight king Tyron Woodley in March in the UFC London headliner.

    But the coronavirus pandemic forced the event to be cancelled.

    Due to travel and lockdown restrictions, Edwards has been unable to fight.

    Gilbert Burns, 34, replaced him to beat Woodley, 38, in May and is now set to challenge champion Kamaru Usman, 33.

    Colby Covington, 32, and Jorge Masvidal, 35, are also set to fight in a grudge match that could determine the next title challenger.

    Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson, 37, has called to fight Edwards, but the Brit did not seem keen with the American ranked below him.

  • Richard Forrester

    WHEN PUSH COMES TO SHOVE

    Mike Tyson relished a heated weigh-in confrontation during his boxing days – and loves it when it happens in UFC too.

    Iron Mike was a guest at UFC 160 in May 2013, and watched a blockbuster card that included future lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov against Abel Trujillo.

    Tyson, was on stage at the weigh-in when Khabib – who puts his belt on the line in a blockbuster against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 on Saturday night – actually failed to make weight.

    With emotions running high as the two squared off, the undefeated Dagestani, now 32, angrily shoved Trujillo before UFC president Dana White intervened.

    Amid the carnage, Tyson, who at 54 is preparing for his own ring return against 51-year-old Roy Jones Jr on November 28, was enjoying every second.

    He smiled, raised his arms in joy and pumped his fists at the madness.

    Fans were cracking up at the ex-heavyweight king's excited reaction.

    One replied to the clip: “Mike was liking the aggressiveness. Love the look on his face.”

  • Richard Forrester

    FERG-ET IT

    Tony Ferguson is adamant he will finally fight Khabib Nurmagomedov having had five fights axed between them.

    Lightweight champion Nurmagomedov admitted he doubts he will ever face Ferguson following the American's defeat in May.

    Justin Gaethje was only afforded the interim title bout after Russian Khabib was ruled out through travel restrictions.

    Ferguson told ESPN: “I see fear in his voice if he thinks he has to talk bad about people. “He can't put that s*** in my head.

    “I will fight Khabib at one point or another. He will see me before he retires. We'll make that a point.

    “I think everybody is writing me off after one loss, and f*** them. The casual fan base is trying to, but my hard-core fans are too much.

    “They know too much. My value is way too much.”

  • Richard Forrester

    AN ABSOLUTE CON

    Conor McGregor has single-handedly infuriated three MMA rivals Khabib Nurmagomedov, Jon Jones and Nate Diaz with a 'GOAT thread' on Twitter.

    The fighting trio were seething when not-so-humble McGregor labelled himself at No 2 on the all-time list behind Brazilian hero Anderson Silva back in May.

    But he vowed to claim top spot “easily” before the end of his career, suggesting he may already be on a par with Silva.

    McGregor wrote: “GOAT THREAD. The array of finishes, across 2 divisions, with champion status in 1, Anderson Silva is No.1 MMA GOAT.

    “My array of finishes, across 3 divisions, with champion status in 2, I’m No.2, if not tied 1.

    “However still active, No.1 is fully secured by career end. And easily.”

    Khabib fired back: “You tapped out in featherweight, you tapped out in lightweight and you tapped in welterweight.

    “You never defended title in the UFC or Cage Warriors, you gave up more than GSP, Spider and Bones all together.”

    Jones added: “I’m not going to debate on who is the goat, I’ll let the fans do that for me.”

    And Diaz responded: “Smoked the 1 p4p and double champ. Know the real goat when you see him.

    “And don’t forget I did it better and quicker than anyone else on the ground and sent him down with punches quicker than Mayweather did so f*** alll y’all rankings and know a real goat when you see me.”

  • Richard Forrester

    SOCK IT TO HIM

    Conor McGregor boasted about an illegal knee he landed at UFC 229 which 'smashed in' Khabib Nurmagomedov's eye socket.

    McGregor uploaded a clip from round two of his grudge match against Nurmagomedov.

    The Irishman – who had been dropped earlier on – was being controlled on the floor by his Russian nemesis.

    But he then threw a knee, which is illegal shot you cannot land the strike on a downed opponent, which unbeaten Khabib and McGregor both were.

    Still, The Notorious appears proud of the sneaky blow, which he claims to have landed on the sweet spot.

  • Richard Forrester

    SNAKE STYLE

    Khabib Nurmagomedov revealed he fears snakes after being pranked by his team-mates – despite being able to wrestle bears and lions.

    The unbeaten lightweight champion is preparing to defend his crown against interim champion Justin Gaethje in a unification on Saturday.

    And during his preparations for the UFC 254 headliner, Nurmagomedov’s team-mates pranked the Russian star.

    As the 32-year-old was training, a large live snake was brought in by two men in what appears to be a uniform.

    Khabib can be seen quickly making a dash for it, as his other camp mates were instead confronted with the snake.

    But as Nurmagomedov explains, the stunt was not initially aimed at him.

    He told BT Sport: “Honestly, I don’t like snakes. I like bear, eagle, lion.

    “They don’t know about me, they know about other guys, they know about other guys but they don’t bring this to bring pressure on me.”

  • Richard Forrester

    GAET-WAY

    Justin Gaethje has accused Conor McGregor of making a ‘b**** move’ by avoiding him and fighting Donald Cerrone instead.

    The Irish superstar returned to the octagon in January to knockout ‘Cowboy’ in just 40 seconds.

    Gaethje told BT Sport: “I’ve tweeted him and called him a s*** father, human and husband.

    “That was in October and he fought ‘Cowboy’ in January. He had every opportunity to fight me and he passed every time.

    “The time’s he said he was going to fight I never had a call from UFC or anybody to confirm whether that happened, so I dunno what was going on behind the scenes.

    “But they never called me and he had many opportunities to fight me and he didn’t.”

  • Richard Forrester

    WEIGH TO GO

    Jared Cannonier is the middleweight title contender who dropped FOUR STONE from heavyweight to resurrect his UFC career.

    And he is just one win away from capping off his incredible career turnaroind with a title shot.

    American Cannonier made his MMA debut in 2011 and after seven fights and three years, he was signed by the UFC.

    But the Texan – who tipped the scales at 235lb – was knocked out after three minutes by Shawn Jordan.

    Cannonier would bounce back with two consecutive wins, the second of which marked his move down to light-heavyweight.

    But he lost three out of four at 205lb, against current champion Jan Blachowicz and former title challengers Glover Teixeira and Dominick Reyes.

    Cannonier would then make the drastic decision to drop down to the 185lb middleweight division – three and a half stone lighter than his UFC debut.

  • Gary Stonehouse

    GOOD MORNING FIGHT FANS

    Khabib vs Justin Gaethje is set to smash the pay-per-view record, claims Dana White.

    The undefeated Russian will put his lightweight belt on the line against the American at UFC 254 on Fight Island this weekend.

    Khabib's fight against Conor McGregor in 2018 currently holds the UFC record for the most pay-per-view sales at 2.4million.

    It is estimated that the lightweight showdown raked in a whopping £120m.

    But White has revealed this weekend's bout is on track to be even bigger.

    The UFC chief told TMZ: “This thing's trending off the charts for us right now.

    “So, today is Tuesday and on Monday, this thing was trending to be the biggest fight we have ever had.

    “Not Thursday, not Friday, Monday.”

    Meanwhile, White said he 'expects' Conor McGregor to fight Dustin Poirier again … but only at 155lbs.

    While no formal agreements have been signed yet, a bout between the two seems likely for UFC 257 on January 23.

    He told BT Sport: “The deals not signed yet but in the history of dealing with Conor McGregor, Conor McGregor has never come out publicly and said ‘I accept this fight’ and then not fought and turned down a fight. I expect the fight to go on.”

    When pressed on the weight division the fight should be at, White was adamant.

    He said: “I'm not putting on a friggin' multi-million at a catchweight that means nothing.

    “The fight means nothing at 170. Neither one of those two are ranked at 170 pounds and it doesn't do anything in the '55 division if either one of them win 'cos they're fighting at 170.

    “It literally makes no sense.

    “There are plenty of organisations that put on fights that make no sense. You can go and watch those fights every weekend. That's not what we do here.”

    And finally, Anderson Silva says he will retire after his fight with Uriah Hall on October 31.

    Former UFC middleweight champion told MMA Junkie: “This is the last fight. For sure, this is the last fight. Probably.

    “I love the sport. I've prepared my mind for this. I've prepared for fighting my entire life, but yes, this is my last fight in UFC.”

  • Joe Brophy

    WEIGH TO GO

    Justin Gaethje has claimed he wasn't after any tips when he once helped Khabib make weight.

    He said: “I’ve been cutting weight my whole life, he’s been cutting weight his whole life. There’s nothing fun about it.

    “If I’m around and you’re struggling, then I’m gonna lend a helping hand — it doesn’t matter who you are.

    “I just happened to be in the situation at the time and it’s who I am. Nothing more than that.I didnt go into the situation to learn about him or about his mindset. I was there to help because he needed some help at the time just in that one minute.”

  • Joe Brophy

    MONEY TALKS

    Justin Gaethje hopes his mum, who he specifically requested fly out to Fight Island this week, can retire if he earns a mega pay day by beating Khabib on Saturday.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Lifestyle

Khabib Nurmagomedov chasing MMA all-time legendary status, says Mark Weir

Mark Weir believes Khabib Nurmagomedov is chasing MMA all-time legendary status and not just another win when he puts his lightweight title on the line against hard-hitting Justin Gaethje on Saturday.

“I think he’s trying to end his career as the best of all time. Get to 30 and 0. He wants to finish undefeated. We saw it in boxing with Rocky Marciano. And if he can go undefeated he’ll be in there in that conversation,” Weir told Sky Sports earlier this week.

Weir acknowledges that on paper it looks like “the undefeated versus the unbeatable” as the Russian title-holder faces an American who is on a four-fight winning streak and most recently counterpunched Tony Ferguson to a standstill. But Weir maintains Gaethje, 31, has much to prove.

“We keep saying every opponent is the best Khabib’s faced to date. I hear a lot of people talking about Gaethje because of the win over Tony Ferguson. But the only thing I’d ask is with coronavirus and the lockdown was Ferguson at his best? Everyone had a break but it affects some more than the others.”

Wrestling tactics

Even if he is chasing MMA immortality, Weir does not envisage Nurmagomedov looking to make any eye-catching adjustments and expects the champion to once again focus on his overwhelming wrestling tactics at UFC 254.

Trending

“Khabib will be pushing forward. He’ll probably throw a few punches and kicks in the stand-up. And he’ll wait for Gaethie’s counter because he’ll know Gaethie likes to throw counters,” Weir said, explaining the Russian’s potential route to success.

“And then he’ll probably catch him. If he catches him, he’ll look to get Gaethie against the cage and will beat him up. He’ll beat him up and when the time is right, he’ll take him down.”

Although Gaethje has made his name in MMA on the back of hurtful striking that has yielded 19 KO wins from 22 total victories, he does also have high-level college wrestling on his CV. But Weir does not think that will help ‘The Highlight’ on Fight Island.

“Just because he has a wrestling background it doesn’t mean he can use it in MMA. It’s a different way of using it when you’re doing MMA. Maybe he can be creative with it. But has he had people trying to take him down like Khabib?”

Is an upset on the cards?

Not that the pundit is ruling out a Gaethje win. He just thinks his game plan has to centre around cautious, clinical striking.

“In his last fight, after Ferguson swung, he’d counter. He’ll have to calm that down a little with Khabib. If he can start tagging him, then he can slowly up the power. I’d probably go for front or side kicks to the knee and then open himself up for strikes.”

And, above all, Weir believes that literally keeping his feet on the ground will be key to a surprise win for the underdog.

“With Gaethie, when Ferguson was missing, he was throwing hooks in return. But he was slightly off balance. There’s a pause when you lose your balance. And Khabib will see that and attack you.”

Still undefeated…

Despite seeing a potential path to victory for Gaethje, Weir, ultimately, predicts Nurmagomedov will move to 29-0.

“You can’t look past the champion. Everyone keeps thinking someone has his number. He has the undefeated mindset and he won’t quit,” Weir concluded.

One new unknown surrounds Nurmagomedov’s mindset in the wake of his father’s death in the summer. This will be his first contest without his dad and mentor in the corner. Weir says we will not know the effect of the loss until battle commences.

“Grief affects people differently. But if the grief hits him when he’s fighting, it could go one of two ways. You could be getting hit and think ‘I want to do this for my father’. But then you’re thinking of your father and the grief may overtake you.

“But for me I think it will be a plus, I think he has all the answers and I think even if he’s rocked, he’ll work through,” Weir said.

McGregor rematch?

The question that will inevitably follow a Khabib win, will be who is next for fight number 30?

A rematch with Conor McGregor would attract huge attention, but Weir is worried it could wind up a mismatch until the Irishman regains career momentum.

“Conor’s been out of the picture for a while at 155. He needs to prove himself again. You don’t want to see a fight where he comes in and gets beaten up worse than before.”

Another illustrious name mentioned in connection with Khabib has been two-weight champion, MMA royalty, George St-Pierre. But the Canadian’s titles have come at higher weights and Weir cannot see him risking his reputation and health in coming down to meet Khabib at 155 pounds.

“George is a very clever guy. He’s never punished himself with weight cuts and he’s in good condition. I could see him cutting and seeing how he feels. But if he didn’t feel good, I could see him pulling out for safety reasons.”

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Lifestyle

Mike Tyson and Khabib Nurmagomedov are friends, from wrestling animals to hanging out together in Las Vegas

THEY'VE reached the upper echelons of their sport, so it's no wonder they're got a mutual appreciation for one another.

In the past year, UFC star Khabib Nurmagomedov, 32, and boxing legend Mike Tyson, 54, have proven to be best buds.

Khabib appeared on Tyson's radar as far back as 2013, when he clashed with Abel Trujillo in a weigh-in for UFC 160, much to the delight of 'Iron Mike' who was invited as a guest by Dana White.

Since then, Khabib has praised the icon – even visiting the former heavyweight champ in his Las Vegas mansion.

The pair, who are 22 years apart in age, also have a penchant for wrestling wild animals too.

MIKE LIKED WHAT HE SAW

Picture the scene.

Seven years ago, Khabib and Abel Trujillo are gearing up for a lightweight battle on the card for UFC 160.

At the weigh-in at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, The Eagle misses weight by 2.5lbs and is forced to forfeit 20 per cent of his fight purse – with half going to his opponent.

As the two men square up to one another, an infuriated Khabib shoves Trujillo after they lock eyeballs.

Tyson is there – invited along to proceedings by Dana White – and he loves it. Roaring like a lion and shaking his fists, Mike is immediately taken by Khabib.



ANIMAL INSTINCT

A common thread both Khabib and Tyson share is their love of animals, in particular wrestling them.

As a kid growing up in Dagestan, the MMA star wrestled a wild bear – a training method encouraged by his late father, Abdulmanap.

Grainy footage exists, and it's an impressive sight to behold.

Tyson, himself, is no stranger to jostling with powerful animals – regularlyplay-fighting with his pet tigers during his prime.

And in another instance, Tyson once admitted he offered a zoo keeper £9,000 to fight a silverback gorilla in New York.

Tyson explained: “I paid a worker at New York's zoo to re-open it just for me and Robin.

"When we got to the gorilla cage there was one big silverback gorilla there just bullying all the other gorillas.






“They were so powerful but their eyes were like an innocent infant.

“I offered the attendant $10,000 to open the cage and let me smash that silverback's snotbox! He declined.”

HANGING OUT IN LAS VEGAS

In 2017, Tyson was cage side for Khabib's win against Edson Barboza and seen cheering him on to victory.

Incredibly, after the fight Khabib revealed that Tyson had invited him to his Las Vegas mansion before the event.

"The last time I was in Vegas I met with him inside his house. He invited me," Khabib revealed.

"I am a big fan of Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali. And I want to be the greatest like these guys. Not only inside the cage but also outside."

Khabib even recalled the first time he saw Tyson in action.



"First time I watched Mike Tyson fight it was like 2003, February when he fought Clifford Etienne. I watched the fight at five or six in the morning.

"And I can't imagine how after 14-15 years in Vegas I'm going to show the best performance of the night and Tyson watched my fight.

"It's like a dream come true. You never know what happens tomorrow, so if you have dreams you must follow it."

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Lifestyle

Khabib and Gaethje arrive at Fight Island for UFC 254 in 'Bane' masks as last-minute fan appeal is turned down

KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV arrived for his UFC blockbuster fight against Justin Gaethje looking like Bane.

The Eagle's coronavirus mask had fans comparing him to Tom Hardy's supervillain from Batman film The Dark Knight Rises.


But unfortunately, looking at photos online is as close as fight fans will come this weekend after plans to allow spectators in were scrapped.

Nurmagomedov – whose mask is actually a £200 respirator made by UFC partner O2 Industries – will defend his lightweight belt at UFC 254 on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.

According to respected ESPN journalist Brett Okamoto, plans that would have allowed fans in the building and put tickets on sale were not approved in time.

Instead, only a 'small handful of invitees' will be allowed to attend in-person.

Khabib, one of UFC's biggest stars, is gearing up for his first fight in a year.

He will look to employ his tried and tested method of bringing opponents to the ground and choking them out – like he did when he beat Conor McGregor in October 2018.

However, that could prove tricky against Gaethje, who has a background in wrestling.

Unbeaten Khabib's coach Javier Mendez does not think it will be an issue though.


He told MMA Junkie's Hablemos MMA podcast: "The thing with Justin is, when has he used wrestling? I've never seen it.

"Just to get up, but he hasn’t used the wrestling. So let’s see what happens.

"If we can’t get him down, we have a fight.

"If we get him down there’s not going to be a big problem because he doesn’t work on the ground, from what I’ve seen.

"If you’re not working wrestling in your fights, it’s going to be hard in your first fight given how big the fight is and that he’s taking on the master of the ground in Khabib.

"It’s going to be tough for him. However, if we can’t get him down, it will be hard for us.

"He says he’s tough to take down, so let’s see what happens. I don’t think it’s going to be as hard as he thinks, but it’s possible that it’s tough to take him down. I don’t believe it will, because Khabib is a master at taking the fight to the ground."

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Lifestyle

Khabib vs Justin Gaethje fight card: Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier chief support at UFC 254

KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV returns to action this month in defence of his UFC championship belt.

He will face-off against Justin Gaethje in the highly-anticipated Lightweight Championship clash at UFC 254.

When is UFC 254?

  • UFC 254 will take place on Saturday, October 24.
  • The clash will be held at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
  • Fight Island has been the home to UFC fights since the coronavirus lockdown was put in place.

What time does UFC 254 start?

The early prelims will begin at 3.15pm BST.

This is 10.15am Eastern Time in the US and 6.15pm in Abu Dhabi.

Then the main card starts at 7pm BST and the main event is expected to get underway from around 10pm.

Speaking on the time choices UFC president Dana White said: "It will be time-friendly for the European audience. It will happen in the afternoon in the US."

What TV channel and live stream is UFC 254 on?

UFC 254 will be shown on BT Sport Box Office.

It can be live streamed on BT Sport’s website and app.

Earlier prelims will be shown on UFC’s Fight Pass for subscribers as normal.

US fans can watch the slug-fest on ESPN.

Who's on the UFC 254 fight card?

Fans will get to see a middleweight bout between former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier.

The fight was initially scheduled to take place in March at UFC 248, but Whittaker pulled out due to personal reasons.

Whoever wins this match will most likely face the champ Israel Adesanya next.

Main Card

  • Khabib Nurmagomedovvs Justin Gaethje
  • Robert Whittaker vs Jared Cannonier
  • Alexander Volkov vs Walt Harris
  • Magomed Ankalaev vs Ion Cuțelaba
  • Jacob Malkoun vs Phil Hawes

Preliminary card

  • Stefan Struve vs Tai Tuivasa
  • Alex Oliveira vs Shavkat Rakhmonov
  • Da Un Jung vs Sam Alvey

Early Prelims

  • Nathaniel Wood vs. Casey Kenney
  • Liana Jojua vs. Miranda Maverick
  • Joel Álvarez vs. Alexander Yakovlev

What have they said?

Khabib

"I'm going to try wrestling with him. If he's going to defend my takedown one time, I'm going to try a second, third. I'm gonna try 100 times. And of course I'm going to box with him, I'm going to kick with him.

"He's going to be kickboxing and wrestling, a mix. I'm going to make him tired.

"This is my goal. And maybe in round number 3, round number 4, my plan is finish him."

Gaethje

"I'm gonna go out there and I'm gonna try and break his face, I promise you.

"I am prepared and you can bet your bottom dollar I will not go out like no b****."

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Lifestyle

Khabib vows to fight Michael Chandler after Gaethje as long as UFC new boy beats his training partner Islam Makhachev

KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV has vowed to fight Michael Chandlder next – as long as the UFC new boy beats his training partner Islam Makhachev.

Russian Khabib defends his lightweight crown in a unification against interim champion Justin Gaethje next weekend.


Former Bellator champion Chandler – signed to the UFC as a free agent – is on Fight Island as a replacement for the title headliners.

But Nurmagomedov told the contender he will be next in line for the title should he beat his American Kickboxing Academy team-mate Makhachev.

Retired fighter Chael Sonnen revealed: “(Khabib) said, ‘Chael, I watch your videos, I need to tell you something. I want to make this very clear.

“He said, ‘There’s no one I’m closer to than Islam.’

"And he said, ‘I’m telling you right now, if Michael Chandler beats Islam, I will view Michael Chandler (as) the number one contender, and I want you to get the message out.’

"I said, ‘OK, Khabib, when I get the message out, I’m gonna say you called me, you told me this.’

"He goes, ‘That’s what I’m doing. Get that message out.’”

Makhachev was due to feature on Nurmagomedov's undercard in Abu Dhabi facing former champion Rafael dos Anjos.

But Brazilian Dos Anjos was withdrawn from the pay-per-view event after testing positive for coronavirus.

Ali Abdelaziz, Makhachev and Khabib's manager, challenged Chandler to fill in for the feature lightweight bout.

But UFC president Dana White shot down the idea.

He said: "Michael Chandler is here for the other fight, that's what he's here to do, that's what he's focussed on.

"If anything bad were to happen, he will fight Gaethje or Khabib. That's it, that's all that kid has to worry about.

"We'll get him a fight once this is over and we're working on a fight for Islam too."

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Lifestyle

Khabib vs Gaethje could be in front of fans as UFC try to get audience onto Fight Island for huge title clash

THE UFC could welcome back fans on Fight Island for the lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje.

Khabib and Gaethje headline UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi, the the promotion's fourth pay-per-view event at the brand new Flash Forum.

But so far it has only hosted behind closed doors fights.

Now, according to DCT marketing director Saeed Rashed Al Saeed, a strategy to allow fans into the arena is being drawn up.

He told The Hotelier: “We are currently studying how to bring fans into UFC 254.

“Right now we’re going through how to segregate fans from people inside the bubble but still get them inside the space in the safe manner.”

“If everything goes to plan we’ll be announcing this soon. It’s not confirmed yet but the plan is in place but it needs to be endorsed.

"I’m optimistic but health and safety cannot be compromised. That is our priority, it will not happen unless it is fool proof.”

UFC boss Dana White has continued to stage events behind closed doors during the coronavirus pandemic, both Stateside and abroad.

Due to travel restrictions into the US, the UFC built Fight Island in Yas Island to accommodate international fighters unable to get into America.

Already Jorge Masvidal, 35, Kamaru Usman, 33 and Israel Adesanya, 31, have fought on Fight Island.

Unbeaten Khabib, 32, is a huge star in the Middle East and sold out the 'The Arena' in Yas Island last year at UFC 242, where he beat Dustin Poirier.

Source: Read Full Article