Justin Gaethje doesn’t believe Khabib Nurmagomedov is an undefeated fighter as he thinks the Russian lost his UFC fight eight years ago.
The American fighter punched his way to a fifth-round technical knockout against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 to set up a unification bout with the defending lightweight champion.
It was Gaethje’s fourth straight win in two years while Khabib remains undefeated in 28 professional bouts including 12-straight wins in the UFC for the longest winning streak in the lightweight history.
In a recent interview with ESPN, Gaehtje talked about his next opponent and commented on his current record, saying “I think he lost to [Gleison] Tibau though, that’s just me.”
Khabib tussled with the Brazilian fighter at UFC 148 in 2012 and won a controversial unanimous decision victory. Since then, he has established a reputation as one of the most dominant fighters in the UFC.
— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) May 14, 2020
The UFC is looking to book the lightweight pair for a September showdown and Gaethje has already come up with a plan to become the first fighter to beat Nurmagomedov.
“I’ll work to be my best self. I’m so athletic. The first thing to go when you get tired is your legs, so my legs, from now until then, I’m going to be running a lot, jump rope a lot, a lot of step ups, squats,” he told ESPN.
“If my legs are in shape I don’t get tired. If I don’t get tired, I can get back up. If I can get back up, I can hit him like a truck.”
“I have only got to kick him eight times in the calves before he’s compromised. There’s lots of factors. I’m going to work on being me, stay in shape. It’s all cardio.”
Justin Gaethje jumped into the tenth spot on ESPN's latest P4P rankings 📈
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) May 18, 2020
The interim champion stressed he is deserving of the next title shot, saying a clash with Khabib is the only fight that makes sense.
“That’s the fight I want (rather than clash with Conor McGregor). I earned it. I deserve it. It’s the only fight out there for me right now.”
“I’m glad I have a little bit of a say, because one thing I want to focus on is bringing a little bit of legitimacy to the process.”
“I want young guys to know, when you come to the UFC and you win, you fight someone in front of you. You lose, you fight someone behind you.”
“And if you win enough times against ranked guys and get the interim title, then you fight for the belt.”
“The NFL and NBA there are play-offs so they know how it works, there’s an answer. We don’t have that. So I’m glad I get a little bit of a say. That’s the only fight that’s right, that makes sense.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov says his father is in critical condition with the coronavirus. https://t.co/UwG6FDtGfx
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 19, 2020
(Featured Image Source: Instagram/ Belt News and Khabib Nurmagomedov)