Khabib Nurmagomedov has certainly been turning heads since he arrived in the UFC back in 2012. Before, it was mostly because of what he was doing in the cage, but more recently, it’s been on account of what he’s been saying.
Yes, if you follow the undefeated lightweight, then you know in recent months, Nurmagomedov has been taking the trash talking up a notch. The 26 year-old apparently doesn’t think much of Anthony Pettis, and in recent weeks, he’s been sending plenty of shots Donald Cerrone’s way, who he’ll face at UFC 187.
While some folks may not be sold on Nurmagomedov just yet, and believe he has yet to back up his talk, one guy who’s all in on “The Eagle” is Luke Rockhold. The two have spent a lot of time training together at American Kickboxing Academy, and here’s some of what Rockhold had to say about Nurmagomedov this week (quotes via MMA Junkie.com):
“Khabib is as good as he thinks he is,” Rockhold said. “Have you heard the guy talk sh-t? He’s pretty vocal these days about where he stands and what he believes is his. Khabib is what he thinks is he is. That’s my quote.”
“He’s got a great tenacity no doubt,” Rockhold said. “His control in the clinch, top position, submission defense – he’s very talented when it comes to the grappling and wrestling aspect of it.”
Yup. There’s no doubt Nurmagomedov possesses one of the best grappling games in the sport, some have said the best, and he’s used those skills to go 22-0. So, when you consider that, as well as the fact he has a win over reigning champ, Rafael dos Anjos, the bold statements are somewhat understandable no?
Nurmagomedov and Cerrone will throw down on May 23rd, and the winner will almost certainly advance to a title shot. “The Eagle” is currently the betting odds favorite in the -235 to -260 range.
Rockhold, meanwhile, is scheduled to fight Lyoto Machida at UFC on FOX 15 this Saturday. That card will take place in Newark, New Jersey.