Khabib Nurmagomedov doesn’t have a personal grudge against Dustin Poirier but that won’t stop the UFC interim lightweight champion from suffering the same fate as Conor McGregor.
Recently, the undefeated Russian faced off with Poirier for the second time ahead of their showdown in Abu Dhabi on Sept. 7. The title unification bout will headline UFC 242 with Nurmagomedov looking for a second defense of his lightweight championship while Poirier hopes to unify the titles after winning the interim belt in April.
Unlike the very personal nature of his last fight against McGregor this past October, Nurmagomedov holds no ill will towards Poirier whatsoever but he predicts the outcome will be eerily the same.
“All you guys remember last time what I did here? Nothing changes,” Nurmagomedov said when addressing his fight against Poirier. “I’m going to do this in Abu Dhabi, too, defend my title but without jumping [over the Octagon].”
Nurmagomedov is obviously referencing the post-fight melee that happened just seconds after he tapped out McGregor to defend his belt last year.
While he doesn’t expect there to be any bad blood in the lead up to this fight, Nurmagomedov isn’t going to take it easy on Poirier once they step into the Octagon together.
“Dustin is a tough guy. He has more than 20 fights in the UFC. He has good experience,” Nurmagomedov stated. “Honestly, last fight I expected Max [Holloway] was going to beat him. This one is a little bit of a surprise for me. He has good boxing, good footwork but last six fights, he fight with only striking guys. He never fight guys who all the time wrestling with him like my style.
“I think it’s going to be a tough night for him. This is my opinion because he has to be ready. I’m going to wrestle with him all night, make him tired and make him tap. This is my plan.”
Poirier countered that he doesn’t get tired but Nurmagomedov has a proven track record where he has put the majority of his opponents down on the ground before unleashing a hellacious storm of offense that has been nearly impossible for anyone to endure.
Nurmagomedov isn’t trying to hide his game plan or mask his intentions for Poirier once that cage door closes on Sept. 7.
“I just want to maul people. This is what I want to do,” Nurmagomedov said. “Doesn’t matter, Dustin, Tony [Ferguson] or other opponents, it doesn’t matter. When I go to the cage, I maul my opponents all my life. 27-0. People talk about his six [fight] win streak. What about 27 win streak? 11 years undefeated.
“I don’t want to underestimate this guy, I know he’s a tough challenge but this guy’s not on my level.”