Why Kenny Florian thinks Conor McGregor is the only guy who could knock out Khabib Nurmagomedov
Kenny Florian isn't picking a victor of the Conor McGregor vs Khabib Nurmagomedov fight just yet.
Just in case you weren't hyped enough for Conor McGregor vs Khabib Nurmagomedov, not to worry. The promo Kenny Florian cut for UFC 229's main event on the Anik and Florian podcast is sure to get you pumped.
"You have Khabib Nurmagomedov, an absolute Dagestani juggernaut. A guy that when he's focused on taking you down and beating you u, he can do it. And he can do it against anybody all the way up to 170 lbs, most likely."
"And you get Conor McGregor, who just might be the only guy at 155 lbs who can expose that striking weakness of Khabib Nurmagomedov and actually make him pay for it. So he has the ability to land that shot that you don't see, he has the ability to counter you, he has the ability to move off that centre line and land that fight-ending shot unlike anybody in that division."
Good God, October 6 can't come soon enough.
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) August 16, 2018
Florian argued that McGregor wasn't as appreciated as he should be. He claimed that his zingers and his general behaviour outside the cage have seen people lose sight of how skilled he is as a fighter.
"He's such a technical striker. You look at what he's done. Are people forgetting that he just destroyed Jose Aldo in a mere 13 seconds? The fact that he beat Max Holloway? The fact that he came back to ebat Nate Diaz? Not at 155 lb, which was an option for him. But he said, 'No, I'm going to rematch you at 170 lb and I'm going to beat you.' And he did that against a massive and dangerous style match-up in Nate Diaz. so this is a guy who is very dangerous."
BJJ black belt Dillon Danis believes his most famous SBG stablemate could surprise some people with his ground game against Nurmagomedov. Danis thinks that if McGregor pulls guard on the Dagestani, Nurmagomedov won't be able to 'do anything'. Florian doesn't think that's very likely.
"Does he have something to offer him on the ground? Probably not. For Conor, if he gets taken down, he's going to have to go into survival mode. I think there's ways to counter Khabib. They're few and far between. There's certain things you can do, but you better be very high-level and elite in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world. Conor isn't that yet."
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) August 7, 2018
Touch of death
Conor McGregor's sheer determination may be enough to defeat Nurmagomedov, according to Florian. He pointed to his victory over Chad Mendes as an example of this.
"However, I feel he could stop a few takedowns, get him tired and he will not stop. We have to go back to that Chad Mendes fight where he was getting taken down, he was exhausted, he had a terrible knee injury, he was flying all over the place, one of the most brutal weight cuts you could make coming down to 145 lbs and he went out there and got the result by finish. So he's a guy that's very determined."
"Now, he's got about $90 million in his bank account. That changes things a little bit. How is his mindset? How is his fighter mindset and fighter focus? I don't know. I still think that for Conor McGregor has a lot of fight in him. He has a lot to still prove to himself and I still think he loves this game. So, I think he's the only guy who could knock out Khabib Nurmagomedov."
Despite what Joe Rogan and Michael Bisping might have you believe, no one has come even remotely close to knocking out Nurmagomedov. If McGregor achieves this feat, he will definitely enter the GOAT discussions.