Out of all the top ranked lightweights in the world, Alvarez believes that stylistically he has the best chance of getting the job done.
“I think it’s going to take a certain style, and if you don’t have that style, there’s a certain style you have to implement to beat him, and I feel like I can implement that style the best in this division, and I don’t know who else could,” Alvarez told MMA Junkie. “When I think about the other competition and the top 10 in the UFC, and the other guys around, I don’t know if they’re able to implement the type of fight that you have to do to beat Khabib.”
Nurmagomedov (28-0 MMA, 12-0 UFC) retained his lightweight title earlier this month at UFC 242, when he submitted Dustin Poirier in the third round. Alvarez (30-7 MMA), who fought Poirier twice, knew Nurmagomedov would be able to dominate.
“It went near according to the way I thought it would,” Alvarez said. “I wasn’t super surprised. I’m not a big ground fighter. Like, that’s not my goal when I go into a fight, and when I fought Dustin (Poirier) the second time, I found myself in positions where I was being dominant on the ground, and I didn’t necessarily have a goal to do that. When I found out he was fighting Khabib, that’s Khabib’s whole game, right? So I thought to myself, if it’s not even my goal and my thing, and I was dominating and about to finish a fight on the ground, I thought for sure Khabib would be able to get it done.”
And what’s the key to beating Nurmagomedov? Alvarez says he fought a similar style opponent in Michael Chandler twice during his Bellator tenure, and the key to beating “The Eagle” is to neutralize his wrestling.
“The most I can say is I’ve done it before,” Alvarez said. “If you watch the second Michael Chandler fight, and you watch a fight like that where you have a guy who just throws a big punch, tries to run you to the cage, tries to rip you to the ground, and pound you out on the ground, it’s like that’s the style you have to implement on a guy like that to beat him. You can’t stand in front of him. You’ve got to be able to move laterally. You’ve got to be able to shut down his wrestling, and when you do get into wrestling exchanges, you can’t be dominated. You’ve got to have another wrestler who can match his wrestling.”
But Alvarez doesn’t even consider Nurmagomedov an undefeated fighter. He thinks Gleison Tibau should have gotten the nod from the judges in his tightly contested battle with Nurmagomedov back in 2012.
“I don’t necessarily see Khabib as undefeated,” Alvarez said. “I think Gleison Tibau beat Khabib. When I watch that fight back, I feel like Gleison beat him, so there is a style out there, and there is a way to beat him, but right now he’s the champ.”
For now, it’s highly unlikely that we see these two compete. Alvarez is currently signed with ONE Championship and is one step away from winning the promotion’s lightweight grand prix.
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Eddie Alvarez believes he can best implement style to beat Khabib Nurmagomedov