With possibly the biggest UFC lightweight title fight in UFC history at UFC 229 rapidly approaching us, many MMA fans are contemplating just what indeed will happen on that very night between two of the company’s elite?
Though we don’t have a answer to that question, what we do know is both men bring skill sets to this fight that can cancel out the other’s, while improving weaknesses in other skill sets that may otherwise lead to their downfall in the fight.
On one hand, you have McGregor who is a master striker. On the other is Nurmagomedov, who is undoubtedly one of the better grapplers not only in the UFC, but in MMA, period.
All that being said, when the bell sounds on October 6, two things are going to happen; somebody will be defeated, and somebody will win the UFC lightweight championship.
When you look at Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov’s strongest abilities, you figure, if McGregor is able to keep the bout standing he’ll knock Nurmagomedov out, and visa versa with Nurmagomedov, if he takes McGregor down to the ground, he will submit or punish McGregor.
This assumption is of course based on the perception of where many in the sport believe each man is vulnerable, McGregor with the grappling, and Nurmagomedov with the striking.
Artem Lobov, who is Conor McGregor’s chief training partner, agrees with the notion of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s poor striking skills.
However, he says its completely ludicrous to think Conor McGregor is not that strong of a grappler and would not hold his own with Nurmagomedov if the fight went to the mat.
“When you say it like that, it’s as if Conor doesn’t have wrestling and grappling, and Khabib doesn’t have any striking,” Artem Lobov told The Mac Life this week (transcript via Bloody Elbow). “It is true that Khabib doesn’t really have any striking, but it’s certainly not true that Conor’s grappling or wrestling is not on that level.
“He can easily out-grapple Khabib, and in the wrestling as well. Of course this is Khabib’s game, so we’re not stupid. We’re not gonna fall into his hands right away, but make no mistake about it, we’re gonna be ready everywhere.”
In expressing confidence of his friend’s mat skills, he also gave his prediction for the fight, which he boldly claimed McGregor would defeat Nurmagomedov in the very first round.
“I see Conor stopping him in round one,” Artem Lobov stated confidently. “I just don’t see Khabib being able to do anything.”
“Look at some of his other fights [Khabib has] been in. The [Al] Iaquinta fight, when he was connecting, Khabib did not like it at all. He was going back, leaning back, turning away, closing his eyes.”
“The same against Michael Johnson. When Michael Johnson connected, Khabib couldn’t take him down anymore. The only reason they ended up on the floor was because Michael Johnson decided to wrap up the guillotine and bring him down himself — which was the biggest mistake of his life. I’m sure he still regrets that. Either than that, he had stuffed Khabib’s takedowns already.”
“So I see all that, I see Conor in training. I see his timing, I know his wrestling, how good his grappling as well. I just don’t see it any other way. First round stoppage for Conor McGregor.”
What’s your thoughts on Artem Lobov’s assessment of the Conor McGregor-Khabib Nurmagomedov fight?