Justin Gaethje is looking to cause all kinds of mayhem against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254.
Gaethje has a plan to defeat Nurmagomedov at UFC 254. Forget about working behind a jab or sharp takedown defense, Gaethje looks to employ what he calls a “zone of death.”
“We’re not wrestling anymore,” Gaethje said on the Believe You Me podcast (via Alexander K. Lee of MMA Fighting). “There’s gonna be a zone in front of me, it’s not very big. It’s gonna be a zone of death, and I have to represent death every time he enters this zone. That’s what I’m the best at, creating carnage. Creating car crashes. So my only goal when I step in there is to create as many car crashes as possible. Whether it be our bodies hitting, our heads hitting, our f**king shoulders hitting, my fist hitting his head, his fist hitting my head, it doesn’t matter – I need to create car crashes because it’s the only way to beat this guy.”
Nurmagomedov has amassed a 28-0-0 record as a professional MMA fighter, but the fighter has never entered a “zone of death." Definitely not one created by Gaethje.
The interim lightweight champion believes that Nurmagomedov’s biggest weakness is that Nurmagomedov thinks he is infallible.
“I think his biggest weakness is I believe that he thinks he’s infallible,” Gaethje said. “I think if you told him that or brought it to his attention, I believe that he would be very good at explaining to you how he does not believe that, but I believe that he surrounds himself with people who stroke his ego. I believe that culture – this is what I’m counting on anyways – they can stroke your ego, I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it over there. I’ve seen fighters really just surround themselves with a posse that really pumps them up and jacks them up. At the end of the day, he breathes oxygen. His brain needs to get oxygen. If I can short-circuit that oxygen supply for half a second, then he’ll go to sleep.”
It turns out that Nurmagomedov heard about Gathje's "zone of death" and issued the following on it:
Khabib Nurmagomedov keeping a close eye on what Justin Gaethje has been saying in interviews. The Eagle stay lurking in the comments -- pic.twitter.com/V2vIHDXRKt— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) August 11, 2020
UFC 254 takes place on Saturday, October 24 from a to-be-announced location. Nurmagomedov vs. Gaethje will serve as headliner. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, which streams live on ESPN+ pay-per-view.