MOSCOW, July 23. /TASS/. Russia’s UFC Reigning Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is most likely to switch to a striking technique using knees in his upcoming title defense bout against US Interim Lightweight Champion Dustin Poirier, his coach and father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov told TASS on Tuesday.
Nurmagomedov is scheduled to fight against UFC Interim Champion Poirier of the United States in a title unification bout at the UFC 242 tournament in Abu Dhabi on September 7.
"Khabib is growing stronger mastering his striking technique," the coach said. "We have already prepared some surprises for Dustin Poirier. We will witness them in the middle of the second or the beginning of the third rounds. The surprises will be about the new striking technique."
"Why Khabib should not involve his legs and knees? He is capable of a good knee strike in a jump - a boxer is always measuring a distance, but the distance allows to prepare a good strike on a body in a jump," Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov said.
"Dustin [Poirier] is being told that he must remain standing on his feet in the fight against Khabib, and he [Poirier] also knows it well," Khabib’s father continued. "However, we have our special treats for each of our bouts, but the most important is the total control and our aim to knock out the opponent."
Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov also said that with six weeks left before the fight, Khabib has no problems over his weight control. According to the UFC regulations, the allowed weight of the fighter in the lightweight category before the scheduled bout must not exceed 70 kilograms (154.3 lbs).
"We are doing well regarding the weight and are also on the schedule of our training work," the coach continued. "I believe that with a month left ahead of the fight he will be weighing some 80 kilograms. At the moment, we need to get rid of 2.5-3 kilograms."
In 2017, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s officially scheduled fight against Tony Ferguson was called off because the Russian fighter did not feel well before the official weighing procedure.
Khabib’s father also pointed out to the level of great responsibility his son is now faced with.
"If you are getting prepared, you must be in line with the weigh schedule," the coach continued. "You have no right to make a mistake because you are defending the champion’s belt, while all of the rest are simply contenders."
"The whole world is looking at you, taking notice how you manage the weight, how you train and how you will organize your defense. This is a huge responsibility," he added.
The 30-year-old Russian fighter, nicknamed ‘The Eagle,’ currently holds an unblemished record of 27 wins in all of his mixed martial arts fights (8 by KOs, 9 by submission and 10 by decision).
Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier, 30, has fought to win 25 bouts (12 by KO/TKO, 7 by submission and 6 by decisions). He also lost five of his previous fights (2 by KO/TKO, 1 by submission and 2 by decisions).