Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight champion Daniel Cormier doesn’t believe anyone in the UFC can beat newly-crowned lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The Russian is undefeated (26-0) in his professional mixed martial arts career.
Cormier is a teammate of “The Eagle” at San Jose’s American Kickboxing Academy and is convinced that no one on the current roster can match up with Nurmgomedov inside the Octagon.
“He’ll be the only guy that never loses,” Cormier said Tuesday while on a media tour to promote “The Ultimate Fighter 27” (transcript courtesy of MMAFighting.com). “He’s not going to lose, man. They won’t know how to deal with him. He’s going to be the only guy that goes through this whole thing without losing. Because I’m not sure he’s going to be here that long. But while he’s here, nobody’s going to beat him.”
While the lightweight division is arguably the most talented stacked division, even the likes of Conor McGregor don’t worry Cormier.
McGregor’s made his feelings known of the Russian when he attacked the bus Nurmagomedov was on during UFC 223 media day. The Irishman allegedly attacked the van as retribution after an altercation between Nurmagomedov and McGregor’s SBG Ireland teammate Artem Lobov. The attack didn’t seem to bother the Russian, who overcame Al Iaquinta a few days later to capture the lightweight title. Many fans believed the attack was a publicity stunt gone horribly wrong in an effort to promote a fight in the future between the Russian and Irishman.
“He’ll fight Conor McGregor,” the UFC light heavyweight champion said. “It’s going to happen. I think because of the finances, it will be the most viable fight for [McGregor]. He created more interest in that fight with that crazy action that he did. He’s going to get taken down and smashed.”
Those comments from Cormier are based on the last time the Irishman took on another highly-decorated wrestler at UFC 189 in the form of Chad Mendes. Mendes accepted the fight on short-notice against McGregor and while the Team Alpha Male wrestler controlled McGregor for most of the fight, he eventually succumbed to fatigue and was finished by the Irishman.
However, that fight was on short notice, which clearly affected Mendes and Cormier believes with a full camp, Nurmagomedov would literally smother the Irishman and not let him up for the entire fight.
“When I watch Conor fight Chad Mendes, Chad Mendes is a great wrestler, but he’s small,” Cormier said. “He beat him up for two rounds. He beat Conor for two rounds until Conor got up.
“He had done that for two straight rounds on 10 days’ notice. He ain’t getting up like Al Iaquinta got up. You see what happens when you get stuck under Khabib. You become frickin’ Edson Barboza and Michael Johnson.”
Cormier addressed the criticism of Nurmagomedov in his last fight, where he decided to box with Iaquinta in rounds three and four instead of playing it safe.
“I know Joe [Rogan] got a lot of criticism for when he said, when he walked into the Octagon he was the most unbeatable guy [but] by the third or fourth round he had so many holes that they could envision four or five guys beating him. Those guys have no chance. He beat Al Iaquinta easy, man. When you’re winning a fight 50-43, and people are judging you as if you didn’t fight well, you know that you’re on a whole different stratosphere.”