Capital geared up for title fight

Capital geared up for title fight
Kabib Nurmagomedov (left) and Dustin Poirier(R) during face-off at media day in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi - Khabib is fully focused on the fight

By Ashwani Kumar

Published: Thu 5 Sep 2019, 8:15 PM

Last updated: Thu 5 Sep 2019, 10:18 PM

UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is setting his own terms for fight week in Abu Dhabi. The undefeated Russian will lock horns with interim champion Dustin Poirier in UFC 242 at the Arena on Saturday. And on Wednesday when it was time for an open workout, he instead chose to field questions from fans inside Yas Mall. On Thursday for the official media day, he posed for face-off photo op with Dustin and dashed out without interacting with journalists. Khabib's core team maintained that he is heavily focused on training. Khabib had hinted during the open workout session that he needs to be at 155 pounds for Friday's ceremonial weigh-in.
Islam Makhachev, his teammate, said everything was fine.
"Khabib is fully focused on this fight. There are no other issues," he said at Yas Hotel.
Dustin, meanwhile, is sure that Khabib will make the weights.
"I don't think of any negative things now," the American said and added it was time to unify the title.
"It's been a lot of muddy waters and this fight will clear it all up. We will have a definite champ on Saturday. Then next guy in the line - Tony Ferguson will get the shot. So the division is going to fall into place after Saturday."
When asked if his underdog tag, pre-match hype, overwhelming support for Khabib was adding pressure on him, Dustin said: "Pressure makes diamond." Interestingly, Dustin nickname is 'Diamond'.
"I am the underdog here but that's been the story of my life. This is champion versus champion and no trash talks. If you are a fight fan then this is the kind of fight you want to see."
Dustin recollected that people had written him off before fight against Max Holloway in April.
"The odds were against me in the last fight and I came through. I have worked hard and believe in myself. This is the most important fight of my career as I have a piece of the belt and I need the other half. On Saturday night we will unify the belts as the best man will be left standing."
And Dustin is well-prepared as he realises a slip will prove costly on the historic night of combat sports.
"I need to keep my back off the fence. When I do get taken down, I need to create fighting space. His top pressure is really tight. However I am so excited to get in there and feel it."
Dustin termed Khabib as a mountain that has never been climbed. The American is motivated about the opportunity to be the first to do that feat.
"Khabib is well-rounded and focused athlete I have seen in my life. There is always something special in being first. I am mentally ready for 25 minutes of bleeding and sweating. I will put Khabib into positions none haves seen before and hurt him," Dustin added.

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