UFC: Daniel Cormier On Khabib Nurmagomedov: The Guy Is Just A Beast
Khabib Nurmagomedov has been training at AKA with the former two-division UFC champion Daniel Cormier for several years. He is set to defend his UFC lightweight title against Tony Ferguson on April 18th at UFC 249. However, the undefeated Russian yesterday reported that he is unable to leave Dagestan due to the current travelling restrictions, as a result of the coronavirus.
Prior to this, Cormier spoke to MMA Fighting about Khabib’s intensive training camp at AKA in preparation for the fight.
“He was looking good. Dude was training hard. He was very focused. He was aware of the challenge that was out in front of him. He’s a guy who understands how difficult Tony Ferguson is to prepare for and how tricky he can be inside the Octagon.
“So I thought he was on point. I thought he was ahead of schedule. I thought he was a true pro’s pro. That’s his new thing. That’s his trash talk — ‘I am professional, brother, this is my thing, I am professional.’ So he was really locked in.”
Despite being openly biased towards his teammate, Cormier explained why Khabib has the advantage over Ferguson.
“I’ve seen Tony Ferguson be so spectacular throughout the course of his career but I’ve also seen Tony at times struggle with the exact kind of game Khabib brings,” Cormier said. “The Kevin Lee fight. Kevin Lee was able to implement a really good game plan early in that fight but he got tired. Then Tony was able to take advantage of a mistake he made. I watched Abel Trujillo take Tony down and control him.
“Those types of guys, and granted that was a while ago, and Tony has improved vastly, those types of guys are able to do that and those guys are not on the level of Khabib Nurmagomedov.”
MMA fans know all too well how Khabib has supreme wrestling skills, but Cormier believes that his striking game is underrated.
“His top control is smothering. His control. His understanding of grappling and grappling positions. It’s a new level. I don’t know how else to say it,” Cormier said. “The guy is just a beast. I think he’s going to provide a lot of problems for Tony. Honestly, he’s much better standing that people want to give him credit for it.”
For Cormier, it’s not about what Khabib does, because everybody knows he is going to wrestle. It’s about how he does it, which is something nobody has been able to prepare for.
“How good do you have to be that everyone you fight knows exactly what you’re gonna do,” Cormier said. “It’s no secret what Khabib is going to you and he’s still going to implement that game plan to a T. That tells you the level of what this guy is. You know what’s coming.
“My man Dustin Poirier trained for it. He knew but the moment Khabib grabbed him it was probably like ‘I’ve trained with guys before but they didn’t feel like this guy’. I just believe he’s so good at what he does, he doesn’t even have to hide it.”
After Khabib practically ruled himself out of UFC 249, several big names fighters have thrown their name in the hat, to step in and save the card. Namely Jorge Masvidal, Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington, Tyron Woodley and Dustin Poirier.