'I want to fight Khabib': Justin Gaethje says he's the man to dethrone UFC champ Khabib Nurmagomedov
UFC lightweight star Justin Gaethje says his ultimate goal is to face Russian world champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, and according to the American he has the perfect skillset to beat The Eagle.
Gaethje claimed his latest highlight-reel victory at the weekend with his stunning one-punch knockout of Brazilian contender Edson Barboza at UFC Philadelphia.
And the American told media backstage after his victory that he isn't concerned about who he faces next. He just wants to get a shot at Nurmagomedov and his UFC lightweight title.Also on rt.com 'The god of violence does it again': Justin Gaethje KOs Edson Barboza at UFC Philadelphia
"It doesn’t matter to me [who I face]," he said.
"They’re going to pay me a lot of money, that’s what I’m here for.
"I want to be the world champion. I want to fight Khabib."
Gaethje is renowned for his fan-friendly striking-first approach to contests, but he has a strong wrestling base to back up that heavy-handed striking approach.
The American is a former NCAA All-American wrestler, and says that his ability to control whether a fight stays standing or goes to the mat will be crucial when facing a dangerous, dominant grappler like Nurmagmedov.
"I think I’m one of the biggest threats to his title," he explained, citing his "ability to stop takedowns" as a major factor in why he believes he would be successful against the Russian world champion.
"I am a Division 1 wrestler. I was a Division 1 All-American, I placed seventh in 2010 and my ability to scramble and avoid takedowns is something he’s never faced. And the power," he said.
"He’s faced the power, but never with the ability to stop takedowns and scramble. The combination of the two."
Nurmagomedov has never lost a contest in his mixed martial arts career and most recently dominated former two-division world champion Conor McGregor to retain his title in style at UFC 229.
The Russian is currently serving a suspension following the controversial incidents that followed his victory.
But when he returns to active duty once again, Gaethje will hope to be even closer to a potential matchup with 'The Eagle.'