Eddie Alvarez's heart is with Justin Gaethje, but his mind says Khabib Nurmagomedov will reign supreme at UFC 254.
UFC fighters past and present shared their thoughts about the UFC 254 main event with Fightful. Former UFC welterweight champion Alvarez, middleweight contender Jack Hermansson and the legendary Chris Lytle gave Gaethje credit but believe Nurmagmedov is too tall a task.
"As much as I'd love to see Justin pull it off, I feel like he's a guy who... He got the same treatment I got when I entered the UFC," Alvarez said. "They gave him everyone and everyone. The best. If anyone deserves to pull it off, it's Justin. The ground difference is too much to make up. Khabib is another level on the ground than Justin is. There is not enough time in the day for Justin to makeup that gap. The fight will go to the ground sooner or later."
"You can't do anything other than have Khabib as a favorite in any fight," Hermansson chimed in. "It's impossible. He basically never loses a round. Let's give the edge to Khabib, but if there is someone who can upset [him] it's probably Justin."
Lytle had more confidence in Gaethje than his peers; however, he ultimately sided with "The Eagle" as well.
"That's a really good fight right there," Lytle began. "Gaethje, you can't count him out in any fight. It will be interesting because I've never really seen him work from his back. He can be a tough fight for anybody. It's hard to go against Khabib right now because he's never been beat. Gaethje can get knocked out but that's the only way we've really seen him lose. I don't see him getting knocked out in this fight. I could see him getting manhandled. It's not really a good match-up for Khabib. He has a good wrestler who is going to walk through you. That's a really tough one! Why are you putting me on the spot? I'm going to go Khabib but just barely. I could definitely see an upset there."
UFC 254 takes place on Saturday, October 24 from Fight Island on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. The pay-per-view card is headlined by Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje for the UFC lightweight championship. Keep up with Fightful for all your fight night coverage.