Charles Oliveira explains why he is the “right guy” to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov

Lightweight contender Charles Oliveira is preparing to square off against Jared Gordon on Saturday night at UFC Sao Paulo. However, “Do Bronx” already has his sights set on a bigger challenge: the undisputed lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov.

The submission specialist feels most comfortable fighting off his back and will frequently challenge his opponents with his jiu-jitsu. Oliveira believes his skills pose a new threat to the lightweight champion who also uses his grappling expertise to smother opponents. He said during an interview with AG Fight:

“I can’t say anything about Khabib, he’s been defeating everybody, He beat all the top guys. But they’re all strikers, none of them were jiu-jitsu guys who were unafraid of being taken down. I’m the answer to his game, I’m the right guy to fight Khabib, I think that, if I win two more fights, who knows, I might have this opportunity to fight him. It would be great since I have my jiu-jitsu and I’m not afraid of being taken down.”

Oliveira highlights that most of Nurmagomedov’s opponents have been strikers. As a result, many fighters become so focused on defending against “The Eagle’s” submission attempts, they offer very little attack. During an interview on the Joe Rogan podcast, Conor McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh admitted they were too focused on defending takedowns and in hindsight, they would have tried a more offensive strategy.

The Brazilian fighter is riding a five-fight win streak against the likes of Clay Guida, Jim Miller and most recently, Nik Lentz. However, he has been submitted since joining the UFC in 2010. In 2016, the Oliveira suffered back-to-back guillotine choke losses against Ricardo Lamas and Anthony Pettis.

Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Joe Rogan
Photo via Daily Express

The Russian champion’s weapon of choice is the rear-naked choke, which he used to submit his last opponent, Dustin Poirier at UFC 242. With a current record of 28-0, Nurmagomedov is expected to defend his belt once again against Tony Ferguson.

Do you think Charles Oliveira has proved he has what it takes to fight the lightweight champion? Find out this weekend when he meets Jared Gordon at UFC Fight Night 164, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on November 16.

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Khabib Nurmagomedov: I never enjoy inflicting pain on opponents – except for Conor McGregor

Khabib Nurmagomedov typically mauls people in the cage, but he says he doesn’t necessarily get a joy out of it.

Well, there’s one exception, and the answer is pretty obvious: It’s none other than Conor McGregor.

“In the last couple of years, I’ve gone out there and won, and it doesn’t bring me any real joy to be honest, well, with the exception of one fight, let’s say,” Nurmagomedov told RT Sport. “In that fight, I beat that guy with pleasure, I’ll tell you.”

Nurmagomedov (28-0 MMA, 12-0 UFC) submitted McGregor (21-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC) via fourth-round submission at UFC 229 to retain his UFC lightweight title in a battle that got very ugly in the lead-up. The usually calm and tame Nurmagomedov let his emotions get the best of him after the fight, and he jumped over the cage and attacked McGregor’s corner.

It wasn’t typical for behavior for Nurmagomedov, who is typically more composed, even while pounding on his opponents while talking to their corner, and even UFC president Dana White. We’ve seen the UFC champ in fights such as his legendary clash with Michael Johnson, where Nurmagomedov was demanding that his opponent tap out and end the one-sided beating.

“I had fights in my career where I understood that I could hurt my opponent more, but I’d talk to him, tell him to give up so that I don’t beat him too hard,” Nurmagomedov said. “For example, if I had a painful hold where I could break something, I wouldn’t tighten it all the way. I’d just fix it so that the opponent would tap out because I have no aim to hurt anyone in this sport. Yes, we compete in a very brutal contact sport, but it’s never my goal to inflict a lot of pain on my opponent.”

“If I understand that I’m winning, I don’t aim to hurt someone bad. Well, except for one fight.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov explains why sometimes he goes ”easy on opponents”

The UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov has earned a reputation as one of the greatest MMA champions of all time. Since his professional debut in 2008, “The Eagle,” has utilized his grappling skillset to dominate opponents. As the Russian has risen through the ranks to become the UFC’s undisputed lightweight champion, Nurmagomedov admits that he doesn’t want to hurt his opponents anymore. During a talk with Russian school students, he said (via RT news):

“I had fights in my career where I understood that I could hurt my opponent more, but I’d talk to him, tell him to give up so that I don’t beat him too hard,”

“For example, if I had a painful hold where I could break something, I wouldn’t tighten it all the way, it’d just fix it so that the opponent would tap out.

An example would be his last fight against Dustin Poirier at UFC 242. Many spectators believed that “The Diamond’s” guillotine choke attempt was close to submitting the champion. However, during a post-fight interview, “The Eagle” said he allowed the submission attempt to lull his opponent into a false sense of security, eventually turning the tables and finishing Poirier once he had exerted all his energy.

Khabib Nurmagomedov, Dustin Poirier
Image via @ufc on Instagram

The champion tries not to hurt his opponents and finish them in the most efficient method possible:

Because I have no aim to hurt anyone in this sport. Yes, we compete in a very brutal sport,” Khabib Nurmagomedov added.

“At the beginning, when you’re just starting out and winning fights, it brings you some sort of pleasure. You enjoy it.

“Recently I haven’t had that. In the last couple of years I’ve gone out there and won and it doesn’t bring me any real joy to be honest.

“Well, with the exception of one fight, let’s say. In that fight I beat that guy with pleasure, I’ll tell you. In that fight, I beat that man with pleasure.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov is expected to fight former interim lightweight title holder Tony Ferguson next.

This article first appeared on BJPENN.com November 13, 2019

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The Tuesday Throwback: UFC 205: Alvarez vs. McGregor

Jeff Bottari – Zuffa LLC

November 12th. 2016, ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor makes Octagon history. The then reigning featherweight champion made the move a division higher in a quest to become a multiple-weight champion held simultaneously as many before him have tried. Headlining the promotion’s first ever card in the state of New York City, McGregor clashes with incumbent 155-pound best, Eddie ‘The Underground King’ Alvarez.

Over two rounds, Crumlin born McGregor systematically batters Philidelphia native Alvarez to claim his second undisputed title under the UFC banner, and become the first mixed-martial-artist in company antiquity to lift two world titles at the same time. The performance McGregor lodged that night was breathtaking. It was a culmination of expert counter-striking, timing, movement and collectedness that seen the Straight Blast Gym trainee score four knockdowns inside just seven minutes. Simply put, I don’t believe we’ve witnessed a better outing for the Dubliner than that famous night at Madison Square Garden. The victory over the storied Alvarez, catapulted McGregor into a highly lucrative, cross-promotion boxing match with Floyd Mayweather Jr. the following August.

Rounding off a three title-fight card, Alvarez vs. McGregor was backed by a welterweight showcase between then champion Tyron Woodley and Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson, while former strawweight best Joanna Jędrzejczyk defended her 115-pound title against compatriot, Karolina Kowalkiewicz.

In a brilliantly competitive showing between the two, Woodley and ‘Wonderboy’ battled to a majority draw over five rounds, as Missouri native Woodley successfully retained his title. At UFC 209 at the beginning of 2017, Woodley once more kept hold of the gold, this time via a split decision win over Thompson in the subsequent rematch. Also at her sparkling best that night, was Joanna Jędrzejczyk. The Pole point-fighting master exacted a sharp Muay Thai display against Kowalkiewicz as she managed a fourth successful title defense.

Before our triple-threat of title matchups, future three time title tilter, Yoel Romero launched his championship aspirations with a brutal third round flying-knee victory over former middleweight kingpin, Chris Weidman. Romero flew at Weidman as the latter attempted an early takedown, before famously scaling the Octagon fence and ‘frog’ marching around the perimeter. During his post-fight interview, then middleweight champion Michael Bisping, on desk duty with FOX Sports 1 was the target for an infamous call out by Romero. The Cuban also coined his now iconic, “I luh ju, see you soon, boi.” catchphrase that night.

In the main card opener, future bantamweight title chaser, ‘Rocky’ Raquel Pennington picked up a unanimous decision triumph over former division best, Miesha ‘Cupcake’ Tate. After the bout in her post-fight interview with UFC colour-commentator Joe Rogan, Tate announced her retirement from mixed-martial-arts competition with immediate effect. Tate has since assumed a major role with Asia based promotion, ONE Championship.

In our featured Fox Sports 1 preliminary bout, former lightweight champion, Frankie ‘The Answer’ Edgar rebounded from his second loss to Jose Aldo, with a unanimous decision display over the heavy-hitting, Jeremy ‘Lil’ Heathen’ Stephens. In more lightweight action, future lightweight best, Khabib ‘The Eagle’ Nurmagomedov buried deep in the prelims, dominated Michael ‘The Menace’ Johnson before slapping on a third round kimura.

After the bout, Khabib called for a meeting with Conor McGregor, a bout which would finally materialize two years later. Veteran middleweight challenger Tim Boetsch managed a knockout victory over Brazil native Rafael Natal next, while in our preliminary opener, recent welterweight riser, Vicente Luque finished Belal Muhammad with strikes inside the opening two minutes.

In the featured UFC Fight Pass preliminary meeting, veteran lightweight mainstay Jim Miller picked up a unanimous decision victory over former welterweight championship challenger, Thiago ‘Pitbull’ Alves. In the event opener, former bantamweight and flyweight title hopeful Liz Carmouche handed now perennial 125-pound contender Katlyn Chookagian first career blemish.

Twitter: ://twitter.com/Ross_Markey

 

Artem Lobov says feud with Khabib Nurmahomedov is far from over

Artem Lobov and Khabib Nurmagomedov have history, and it appears their feud is far from over.

At UFC 223, Nurmagomedov and his team went up to Lobov. There, he slapped the SBG Ireland product in the face. It immediately caught the attention of Conor McGregor who is Lobov’s teammate. The Irishman then went to Brooklyn and threw a dolly at the fighter bus containing ‘The Eagle’.

The rivalry was expected to continue when Lobov was set to fight Zubaira Tukhugov, a teammate of Nurmagomedov. But, after Tukuhgov was suspended for his role in the UFC 229 post-fight melee, and the fight was off, Lobov asked for his release. He then signed with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship.

Even though “The Russian Hammer” is focused on BKFC and his upcoming fight against Jason Knight, he says the feud between him and Nurmagomedov is far from over.

“Definitely, things are not fine,” Artem Lobov said on Chael Sonnen’s YouTube channel. “There’s some unsettled business there, and I think in due course it will all be settled. But as of now, it’s definitely not. Not even close.”

Yet, Artem Lobov says there are some positives that the beef is not settled. One positive is the fact he is getting more fans from it. And, in turn, is making more money. So, he is happy with where it is at.

“It’s Khabib’s fans obviously. I have a lot of Russian fans, myself, that support me – and obviously he has a lot of guys that support him,” he said. “So obviously his guys that support him, they always have a lot to say about me, but I don’t mind. It keeps my name in the headlines, it keeps my name in the Internet searches. And, as a result, it keeps my salary nice and high.”

Whether or not Lobov and Nurmagomedov will ever settle their feud is to be seen. But, the rivalry between the two camps seems to be as heated as ever.

What do you make of the feud between Artem Lobov and Khabib Nurmagomedov? Sound off in the comment section, PENN Nation!

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/11/2019.  

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Artem Lobov says there’s still some unfinished business with Khabib Nurmagomedov

The SBG Ireland vs. Dagestan war may be far from over.

It all started with Artem Lobov, good friend and training partner of former UFC dual champion Conor McGregor, who was confronted by lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov and his crew backstage at UFC 223.

McGregor came to Lobov’s defense soon after and flew to New York, where he threw a hand truck through the window of a bus that carried Nurmagomedov and his team. Eventually, McGregor and Nurmagomedov fought at UFC 229, where Nurmagomedov retained the lightweight title with a fourth-round submission.

Following his win, Nurmagomedov jumped the cage and attacked McGregor’s corner, and a brawl ensued. But after a few altercations, a brawl, suspensions, and a fight, the bad blood has not boiled over.

Ever since then, McGregor has been campaigning for a rematch, and the man who was initially in the center of it all, Lobov, said things are certainly not cordial between him and Nurmagomdov.

“Definitely, things are not fine,” Lobov told Chael Sonnen. “There’s some unsettled business there, and I think in due course it will all be settled. But as of now, it’s definitely not. Not even close.”

But Lobov admits he doesn’t mind that the beef is not settled, after all, it keeps his name relevant, and his bank account pretty.

“It’s Khabib’s fans obviously, I have a lot of Russian fans, myself, that support me – and obviously he has a lot of guys that support him,” Lobov said. “So obviously his guys that support him, they always have a lot to say about me, but I don’t mind. It keeps my name in the headlines, it keeps my name in the Internet searches, and as a result, it keeps my salary nice and high.”

Since being released by the UFC, Lobov has signed with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, where he picked up unanimous decision wins over fellow UFC veteran Jason Knight and former boxing world champion Paulie Malignaggi, who infamously had a falling out with McGregor when helping him prepare for his boxing match against Floyd Mayweather.

Lobov is set to rematch Knight at BKFC 9 on Nov. 16 in the night’s headliner.

Bellator 233’s Kyle Crutchmer happy to be compared to teammates Cormier, Khabib – if he has bank account to match

THACKERVILLE, Okla. – With his strong wrestling background, Kyle Crutchmer is happy to draw comparisons to his teammates – but not necessarily to their fighting styles.

Crutchmer (5-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA), who was a two-time NCAA All-American wrestler at Oklahoma State University, has a strong grappling background like former two-division UFC champion Daniel Cormier and UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, his teammates at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif.

Crutchmer improved to 5-0 Friday at Bellator 233 in his promotional debut with a unanimous decision win over Robert Gidron. He used his superior wrestling to control the fight and showed off some of his striking, too.

But with inevitable comparisons to his accomplished wrestling teammates at AKA, Crutchmer is more concerned with making similar paydays down the line.

“I don’t know how many people knock dudes down with spinning back fists, but I threw that (expletive) today – it landed, it knocked him down, so I’ve got a little bit different style from (them),” Crutchmer told MMA Junkie. “But listen, man, at the end of the day, if my bank account says what ‘D.C.’ and Khabib’s say – man, you can compare me to whoever you want to compare me to.”

His opponent, Gidron, stepped in on short notice for the fight. But the natural middleweight missed weight for the 170-pound bout by nearly five pounds. While Crutchmer is accustomed to being the smaller opponent, he says Gidron had an apparent size difference, a challenge he was able to overcome.

“My wrestling kind of speaks for itself,” Crutchmer said. “I think I would be dumb to not at least attempt it in the first, to see how hard or how easy it would be. Man, that guy was big. People don’t realize – he missed weight by five pounds. He’s never fought at (1)70, I don’t think, so he had some height on me, too. So some of those things, I was trying to get to. It took a lot more than people could see.”

And there was no doubt in his mind that he was going to accept the fight regardless, as he looks to begin his ascent in the Bellator 170-pound rankings.

“I’m in this to prove I’m the baddest mother(expletive) in the world, and if I’m turning down fights or I’m saying no to somebody, then why am I doing this?” Crutchmer said. “I knew it was going to be hard. You could see it, how big he was, and that does play a factor in fights. I had no hesitation. I told our coaches, ‘I’ll get paid a little bit more and we’ll roll with it.’”