Khabib Nurmagomedov turned to his Muhammad Ali-inspired boxing to defeat Al laquinta at UFC 223, but coming into his ‘super fight’ versus Conor McGregor, his coach said that there would be no repeat of this strategy against the Irish star.
In an interview with Ariel Helwani on his MMA Show, Khabib’s mentor at American Kickboxing Academy, Javier Mendez, claimed that one aspect of their gameplan against the Notorious had been set.
Asked about using the same blueprint that dispatched Al laquinta, Mendez laughed at this idea and insisted there will be no repetition of the Ali-inspired boxing for Khabib. He believed that it won’t work against an elite striker like McGregor.
“No, you do that with Conor, he’s going to finish you. He’s got precision, striking – he’s an elite striker in the MMA division. You do that with him, that’s the stupidest thing you could ever do.”
While the team has yet to finalise a game plan for Khabib’s title defence, Mendez confirmed that one part of it was already devised. For Mendez, the Eagle will not fix what is not broken and will go for the same goal that steers him to a perfect 26-0 record: bringing his opponent to the ground.
“Look, Khabib will go after him, and if he misses 99 takedowns, he’ll go for 100. As long as he’s standing, he’s looking for the takedown. There’s no gameplan here, per se. How we attack the gameplan, yes, that’s going to be another story in itself, but what our plan is? We can’t stand with him! I mean, we’re going to lose that one for sure. Khabib can hurt him in the standup too. But doing what he needs to do, not standing with him. If he stands with him, we’re losing that all day long. We’re not winning that one at all.”
A Thing of Concern
Team Khabib is not taking McGregor lightly as they believed that the Irish star had been used to big stages and bright lights. Mendez said they want to be well-equipped by the time the historic showdown arrives.
He also revealed that the team is wary of McGregor’s overall skillset and how dangerous he can be inside the cage.
“He’s got great power, great timing, great relaxation. What concerns me is early off, getting started right off the bat he’s going to be very dangerous right from the get-go. We have to be on point. Whoever screws up is going to get the bad end of this one. My job is to make sure Khabib’s on point and that’s it. We just can’t screw up because he’s just too dangerous. He’s too dangerous.”
“A key point from him is that he knows how to relax and he’s got confidence and he’s obviously a very talented individual. He’s super talented. All those combinations put together. He’s got the package as far as standup, he’s got it.”
Watch the promo for the Nurmagomedov vs McGregor fight in the video below:
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