By The Numbers: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje

By Brian Knapp Oct 21, 2020

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Legacies are defined by such moments.

Khabib Nurmagomedov will put his perfect 28-0 record on the line when he meets Justin Gaethje to unify the Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight crown in the UFC 254 main event on Saturday at the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The result of their long-awaited encounter figures to have lasting ramifications in one of the UFC’s glamour divisions.

Nurmagomedov has not fought since he submitted Dustin Poirier with a rear-naked choke in the third round of their UFC 242 headliner more than a year ago. The American Kickboxing Academy representative has since waded through a fight cancellation—he was scheduled to face Tony Ferguson in April—and suffered through the death of his father due to COVID-19 complications. Gaethje, meanwhile, has rattled off four consecutive victories since suffering back-to-back defeats to Poirier and Eddie Alvarez. He laid claim to the interim lightweight title at UFC 249, where he cut through the aforementioned Ferguson with fifth-round punches on May 9.

As Nurmagomedov and Gaethje approach their hotly anticipated battle, a look at some of the numbers that have accompanied them to this point:

32: Years of age for Nurmagomedov, who was born on Sept. 20, 1988 in Sildi, Russia—a small village of less than 300 people in the Republic of Dagestan.

10: Submission wins for Nurmagomedov, accounting for 36% of his professional total (28). His methods of choice: four triangle chokes, two kimuras, two rear-naked chokes, one armbar and one neck crank.

57: Takedowns landed by Nurmagomedov as a UFC lightweight, putting him second on the promotion’s all-time list at 155 pounds. Only Gleison Tibau (84) has executed more.

930: Days spent by Nurmagomedov as UFC lightweight champion. It ranks as the longest reign in the history of the 155-pound weight class, ahead of B.J. Penn (812), Frankie Edgar (687), Anthony Pettis (560) and Benson Henderson (552).

407: Significant strikes by which Nurmagomedov has outlanded his 12 opponents in the UFC, an average of roughly 34 per fight.

31: Years of age for Gaethje, who was born on Nov. 14, 1988 in Safford, Arizona.

19: Gaethje victories by knockout or technical knockout, accounting for 86% of his career total (22). “The Highlight” also has one submission win to his credit, as he tapped Sam Young with a second-round rear-naked choke under the Rage in the Cage banner in September 2012.

12: Seconds needed for Gaethje to punch out Drew Fickett at Rage in the Cage 163 on Oct. 20, 2012. Having occurred in his sixth professional appearance, it remains his fastest finish to date.

0: Takedowns attempted against Gaethje during his current four-fight winning streak. All told, opponents are a miserable 2-for-20 on takedowns against him inside the Octagon. Only Alvarez and Michael Johnson have managed to get the longtime Trevor Wittman disciple to the ground.

9: Post-fight bonus checks cashed by Gaethje in his seven UFC appearances. The former World Series of Fighting champion has been awarded “Fight of the Night” five times and “Performance of the Night” four times, resulting in $450,000 of additional income. Advertisement

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