Arguably MMA’s current biggest draw, Khabib Nurmagomedov finally gets to head back into the Octagon on Saturday with his lightweight title on the line, marking his first fight in over a year.
UFC fans had hoped for year’s that the Russian star would get to face off against lightweight legend Tony Ferguson, but after five failed attempts at making the superfight happen, any such plans were upended back in May at UFC 249.
But in one of UFC’s biggest upsets in recent times, Ferguson was taken down fellow American Justin Gaethje via TKO in a five-round classic. The victory saw Gaethje crowned interim UFC lightweight champ, and set him on a course for Saturday’s big fight.
With 28 wins and no losses, reigning undisputed UFC Lightweight champ Nurmagomedov holds the longest active undefeated streak in MMA, famously coming to the world’s attention after beating Conor McGregor at UFC 229.
Despite holding an immaculate record, Khabib looks set to have potentially his toughest encounter yet in the Octagon, with Gaethje having an impressive CV of his own, having won 86% of his 22 victories by KO or TKO.
Khabib has a declared goal of reaching a 30-0 record, leading many to suspect this could be his penultimate appearance as a UFC fighter. With his unmatched grappling skills, and superior stamina, its hard to see him giving up his unblemished record. Nevertheless, Gaethje has played the role of winning underdog before, and with his deadly jabs and hooks, will hold no fear of pulling off another upset on Saturday.
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