Former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler points out what he thinks are “chinks” in Khabib Nurmagomedov’s armour.
With an undefeated record of 26-0 and the UFC world lightweight title in his possession, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s aura of invincibility was further solidified. But there expectedly are contrarian views, especially for his performance at UFC 223 against Al Iaquinta.
UFC analyst Joe Rogan, for one, believes the fight “exposed” some of the holes in Khabib’s game, and it is a statement he has received flak for. Another individual that shares the same view is former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler.
“(UFC 223) showed chinks in (Khabib’s) armor, and showed what happens when Khabib can’t take you down,” Chandler said on the recent episode of the JRE MMA Show podcast. “It’s tough whenever the one thing that you’ve always been used to dominating with isn’t working, and then you’re stuck throwing punches.”
“He’s a little bit behind in the striking aspect,” he continued. “I’ve got a ton of respect for the guy, (he’s a) mauler. At certain times, he looks unbeatable. He has looked unbeatable where I’ve looked at it, and other people looked at it, and people that have fought him that I’ve talked to.”
Chandler adds to the list of fighters who believe they can deal “The Eagle” his first career loss, mainly based on confidence in the skillset they possess.
“It’s a battle of wills, man,” Chandler said. “I knew I could outpace people, I knew I could out-cardio them, I could out-tough them. Certain people get to that breaking point, and they break and they concede, and they go into their shell, and they say ‘I did a good job.’”
“If all he has is wrestling, how do you beat a man that can’t be taken down?”
Chandler (18-4, with 14 wins by stoppage), is currently on a two-fight win streak. He last saw action at Bellator 197 in mid-April in Missouri, where he defeated Brandon Girtz via first-round submission.