The UFC lightweight champion believes that when compared to Gaethje, he is the fighter who has the best fighting IQ.
“I think my fighting IQ is much better than Justin Gaethje,” Nurmagomedov said at the UFC 254 media day (via Damon Martin of MMA Fighting). “He’s just a tough guy. He like fighting. He like blood. He’s like real warrior but when we talk about fighting IQ, I think my fighting IQ is much better than he has. Of course, Justin can fight. He can go deep. He has heart. But if you’re talking fighting IQ, I think I have much better than him.”
Nurmagomedov does have a better professional MMA record than Gaethje, but Gaethje does have more finishes as a pro MMA fighter when compared to Nurmagomedov. One thing that Nurmagomedov does predict for UFC 254 is that he’ll finish Gaethje by the fourth round of their title fight.
“My goal is to make him tired,” Nurmagomedov said. “I’m going to make him tired. This is my goal. Maybe round No. 3 or round No. 4, my plan is finish him.”