UFC middleweight contender wants to ‘be as good as’ Khabib Nurmagomedov in grappling

This UFC middleweight contender aspires to be in Khabib Nurmagomedov's level in terms of grappling.

By: Milan Ordoñez | 3 months ago
UFC middleweight contender wants to ‘be as good as’ Khabib Nurmagomedov in grappling
MMA: UFC 242- Nurmagomedov vs Poirier, Sep 7, 2019; Abu Dhabi, UAE; Khabib Nurmagomedov (red gloves) fights Dustin Poirier (blue gloves) during UFC 242 at The Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports, 07.09.2019 01:22:17, 13323989, wow, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Dustin Poirier, MMA PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xPerxHaljestamx 13323989

Khabib Nurmagomedov made his name in the UFC as one of the all-time premiere wrestlers and grapplers in the lightweight division. “The Eagle” went through the opposition using his patented weapons, leading to a short but dominant title reign and an eventual Hall of Fame distinction. 

Now retired, the 34-year-old Dagestani left a legacy that many of his former peers aspire to emulate, one of them being UFC middleweight contender Jared Cannonier.

Jared Cannonier bares post-UFC Vegas 75 plans 

Cannonier won big on Saturday night at UFC Vegas 75 with a dominant decision victory over Marvin Vettori in the headliner. He also set a middleweight record for the most strikes landed with 241. 

With his stand-up game going strong, the 39-year-old “Killa Gorilla” now wants to improve another aspect of his game. 

“You guys better watch out – I can grapple, too,” Cannonier told reporters during the post-fight presser (quotes by MMA Junkie). “I haven’t even shown y’all my submission game yet. 

“That’s just me taking you guys down, weighing on you guys, hitting you guys.” 

Cannonier wants to be at Khabib level in grappling

In terms of his grappling, Cannonier already set the bar. Having observed some of the top-tier Dagestani fighters in the UFC, he now has some names to try to pattern his game with. 

“I’ve been studying these Dagestanis and stuff. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the mountain that I’m climbing, personally.

“I want to be as good as those Khabibs (Nurmagomedov), good as those Islams (Makhachev) in there, good as all those guys as far as grappling goes. 

Mostly known for his knockouts, Cannonier’s two submission victories happened during his pre-UFC run. He promises to hone these skills further, along with other aspects of his game that would make him a more well-rounded fighter. 

“I’m going to keep working on my grappling. I’m going to keep getting better. I guess this is my second fight I’ve gotten a takedown, but my first fight that I’ve actively gone for takedowns. 

“Improvements: I just want to keep showing improvements. The next fight, I want to keep showing more improvements.”

Cannonier not interested in fighting Chimaev

During the same presser, Cannonier made one thing clear: he only wants to move up the ladder in the UFC’s middleweight division. One name that was thrown at him was Khamzat Chimaev, who only had two official bouts and 185 pounds. 

“Does that fight give me a title shot? I don’t know, he’s not even ranked in middleweight. So I mean, I know he’s popular. Everybody wants to see him do his thing and stuff like that,” he said (quotes by MMA Mania).

“I’m trying to get to the title. I’m not just fighting to entertain you people. You know what I mean? I know you guys want to see it. I know it will be a good fight. If that fight gets me the title shot, yes. 

“I just beat number three. I’m not looking back. I’m looking forward. I’m looking at the champion.” 

The only way Cannonier is agreeing to a fight with Chimaev is if the UFC threw him a bone

“If they call me and say, ‘Hey, how’s that for contenders match?’ That’s a, ‘yes,” he said. 

“If Dana [White] and Hunter [Campbell] say [Chimaev is] between you and a champion, then that’s something we can talk about. 

“But if you saying would you fight Khamzat and welcome in and division, I’m like, does that give me to the title? That’s the question I’d have for you.”

With the win over Vettori, Cannonier improved to a record of 17-6.

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About the author
Milan Ordoñez
Milan Ordoñez

Milan Ordoñez has been covering combat sports since 2012 and has been part of the Bloody Elbow staff since 2016. He’s also competed in amateur mixed martial arts and submission grappling tournaments.

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