The MMA world was finally given a date for arguably the most hyped match in history when current Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov takes on the former champion Conor McGregor on Oct. 6 at UFC 229 in Las Vegas.
The two fighters could not be much more different stylistically. The undefeated Nurmagomedov is a combat sambo world champion capable of manhandling his opponent, dragging him to the ground and then beating him into submission regardless of his grappling credentials. McGregor, on the other hand, prefers to stand and relies on his laser-like precision striking and using his unorthodox movements to land his left hand.
However, despite Nurmagomedov’s credentials and proven record against elite fighters, McGregor’s teammate, grappling ace and current Bellator MMA fighter Dillon Danis not only believes the Irishman will win on Oct. 6, he’s even backing him in a theoretical grappling match against the current champion.
“Conor could beat Khabib in a grappling match,” Danis told Helwani’s MMA Show on Monday. “I think if you put them in a grappling match like ADCC, I think people would be surprised. Conor is a special athlete. The way he moves his body, he has the ability to move in certain ways and make passes and stuff. He’s a really good athlete.”
Danis was quick to point out that McGregor survived his bout with Chad Mendes who he believes is a better wrestler than Nurmagomedov and McGregor was able to use his wrestling to get back to his feet eventually finishing the fight.
“Chad Mendes is a better wrestler than Khabib,” he said. “What credentials does Khabib have in wrestling? Maybe in sambo. Chad Mendes was second in NCAA.”
Danis believes McGregor will win the fight standing and pointed out the success that Michael Johnson had against Nurmagomedov in their fight.
“Michael Johnson caught Khabib,” Danis said. “Michael Johnson is not at the level Conor is.” Danis told Helwani that he’ll be helping train McGregor for two months and is aiming for his own return to fighting at Bellator 208 in New York on Oct. 13, a week after McGregor’s fight at UFC 229.
“That’s what we’re aiming for,” he said. “We’ve talked about dates, we just haven’t talked about names. I haven’t decided yet.”