Kenny Florian believes that too many fighters are allowing their fear of Khabib’s elite sambo to affect their preparations upon signing to fight him.
Speaking during a recent interview with FightTips, the former UFC featherweight and lightweight title-challenger gave his take on some of the errors most fighters make while preparing themselves for a showdown with Khabib.
“Against Khabib, I think everyone goes, ‘well this is what I’m gonna do. We gotta work on our wrestling for this fight.’ It’s not gonna work. He’s been wrestling for way too long.
“Same thing against someone like [Ben] Askren. You can work on your wrestling for as much as you want, they have too many years under their belt. They’re always going to beat you at wrestling. It’s just gonna be too tough.
As a veteran of a jiu-jitsu circuit back in his day, Florian believes that effective use of BJJ may hold the key to getting the better of Nurmagomedov or at the very least, providing an opportunity to regain your feet and press on.
Many have pointed to the unorthodox 10th Planet BJJ stylings of Tony Ferguson as something that could well be used as an effective counter to the champ and while that fight will likely not happen this year, if they do ever fight, the exchanges on the grounds could well be the deciding factor when all is said and done.
“I think yeah, don’t ignore your wrestling, but I think one way to counteract Khabib is trying to utilize jiu-jitsu to create scrambles to get back to your feet.
“And again, I might be a little biased as a jiu-jitsu guy, but I think taking that approach of really trying to counter the wrestling with some jiu-jitsu, at least threaten it to get him to disconnect from you or create scrambles to get back to your feet, I think is a decent approach.”
It’s hard to know exactly what will be needed to supplant the dominant 155lb champion at this point.
His wrestling, grappling, endurance, and ever-improving striking ability is making him a more difficult puzzle to solve by the fight.
Citing body-shots as a potential path to victory, Kenny goes on to explain how the man who defeats Nurmagomedov will need to approach things.
“And of course just keeping the fight on the feet as long as possible. Attacking the body to try to slow him down. He’s very well-known for his conditioning and I think beating up the body is a great way to try to slow down someone like that.
“Even guys who are in unbelievable shape, you beat up the body they’re gonna get slowed down. And there’s a lot to it, but I think trying to beat a wrestler with wrestling, a wrestler of that calibre, is maybe not the best approach against someone like Khabib.”