• UFC Interim lightweight champ Justin Gaethje said he knows Khabib Nurmagomedov is motivated by his father's untimely passing
  • Gaethje has vowed to make Nurmagomedov quit
  • Nurmagomedov thinks Gaethje will use the same strategy he used against Tony Ferguson

UFC Interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje is confident that he could be the first fighter to put an end on Khabib Nurmagomedov’s undefeated record at UFC 254.

In a recent interview with TMZ Sports, Gaethje admitted that he is expecting Nurmagomedov to come extra motivated in their UFC 254 clash on Saturday following the death of his father, Abdulmanap.

“Well, I mean right now, this man is going to be very hard to beat,” he said. “With the passing of his father, you know, for people like us, that is a driving, motivating factor. He is going to be 100 percent motivated.”

However, the 31-year-old will not let the fuelled Nurmagodemov to dismantle him and insisted that he’s not gonna have the mindset Tony Ferguson had about the undisputed lightweight champion.

Gaethje vows to inflict damage to Nurmagomedov enough to make the Russian fighter quit.

“But I do believe like Tony [Ferguson] believed that I can’t beat him,” the Interim champ pointed out. “And that’s the last thing you want to think when you’re getting into a fight, especially with someone as dangerous as me. I have to hit him, I have to cause damage."

"He’s never had damaged caused. The way he talks about it, he doesn’t want damage caused. If he takes eight clean shots I truly believe he will understand he doesn’t want to take this damage, so therefore he doesn’t need to be here," Gaethje continued.

Justin Gaethje
Justin Gaethje is confident he has the tools to stop Khabib Nurmagomedov. Pictured: Justin Gaethje looks on during his fight with Eddie Alvarez during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena on Dec. 2, 2018, in Detroit, Michigan. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Nurmagomedov, on the other hand, also made a reference to Ferguson. In a recent talk with “Real Quick with Mike Swick” podcast, the 32-year-old predicted that Gaethje will implement the same strategy that he used against Ferguson.

However, Nurmagedov emphasized that he is a far more better fighter than “El Cucuy.”

“For this fight, I think he’s gonna use a lot of footwork, jab, stay away from me,” Nurmagomedov said of Gaethje’s gameplan. “Same thing as with Tony Ferguson, because Tony Ferguson he likes pressure too. I think with me it’s gonna be the same thing but one thing has changed – I am not Tony Ferguson.”

For Nurmagomedov, Gaethje could be in for some all-around beating as he swore to give it all he got in the fight.

“I’m not gonna stand with him [Gaethje],” he stated. “I am gonna give him everything that I have in my MMA skill. Like punching, kicking, pressure, wrestling, take him down, give him ground and pound, you know. You have to be ready for everything."