The highly-anticipated clash between undefeated lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim titleholder Dustin Poirier will headline the UFC 242 pay-per-view event in Abu Dhabi this Saturday (2 p.m. ET,
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The fight has huge repercussions for both fighters. For Nurmagomedov, it’s another successful title defense to his name. And for Poirier, it feels like his entire career has been building up to this moment.
Due to the impressive winning streak that Poirier has accumulated before UFC 242, it’s no surprise to hear Nurmagomedov state that this bout may be the toughest test of his 27-fight career.
“Right now, after watching Dustin Poirier, I think he’ll be my toughest challenge,” Nurmagomedov said during a recent UFC 242 conference call. “I always think like this. He’s a very good fighter. I think it’s going to be a very tough fight for me.”
“I’m ready for this – the last 100 days I’ve trained so hard for this fight. It’s only one week before the fight and I’m still focused. The fight is just around the corner and I’m very focused on Dustin Poirier – I will not underestimate this guy.”
The interim champion will likely have an advantage on the feet come Saturday, September 7, as he has established himself as one of the best strikers in mixed martial arts today.
Nurmagomedov is under no illusion of the speed, power, and skillset Poirier brings to the table but is optimistic he can trade with the Louisiana native.
“All fights begin on [the feet], but then you’re going to watch what I’m gonna do. Of course, I want to feel his speed [and] I want to feel his power. Nobody knows [what’s going to happen] – a fight is a fight. My plan is to finish this guy, that is what I want.”
During the call, “The Eagle” answered questions regarding retirement. Nurmagomedov explained that the decision will not only be his but the team and family that support him.
“I am not a young fighter, I am not a prospect,” Nurmagomedov said. “I’m already UFC champion, I’ve defended my title, this is my second defense. Of course, I don’t have a lot of fights ahead because [I’ve been fighting since] I was four-years-old.”
“But before I make this decision I have to talk to my father, I have to talk with coach Javier [Mendez], all my brothers and my management team, Dominance MMA. I cannot make this decision alone. But right now I am focused on [competing], because I have too much fire inside.”