Khabib Nurmagomedov is a ridiculously, huge favorite to defeat Darrell Horcher at UFC on FOX 19, but it doesn’t sound like the lightweight contender is looking past the Octagon newcomer.
Nurmagomedov was scheduled to fight Tony Ferguson on Saturday night, but the surging fighter went down with a lung injury, and Horcher got the call. So, not only is Horcher scheduled to fight one of the planet’s top 55’ers–a guy who holds a win over the champ Rafael dos Anjos–he’s doing so on very short notice. Thus, this is why, some of the betting lines have Nurmagomedov has a favorite in the -900 to – 1000 range…
Recently the undefeated “Eagle” appeared on “The MMA Hour”, and while discussing Horcher, Nurmagomedov said the following (quote via MMA Fighting.com):
“I watched a couple fights. I don’t think he’s easy money for me,” Nurmagomedov said. “I don’t think like this. My mind thinks this is a hard fight for me, because I have to think like this. I cannot think, oh, this guy is easy money for me. I cannot. This is very bad for me. I think about this guy is very tough, this guy is a southpaw. I think about he has a very hard left punch. I think about everything, and I have plans. I have plans: pressure, move forward, dominate. And we’ll see what happens after.”
Considering Nurmagomedov is coming off a two year layoff, he can’t afford to be cocky, even if everyone and their dog expects him to win. Horcher has gone 12-1 to date in MMA, and is riding a five fight win streak. The only man to defeat him is UFC vet Phillippe Nover.
It will be interesting to see what unfolds. You know that Horcher has a guarantee from the UFC for another appearance. Just stepping up to face one of the scariest grapplers on the planet says a lot about him.