Russian mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter and current UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has opened up about his attitude towards his next opponent, Dustin Poirier, whom he is scheduled to face in the octagon in September. Khabib revealed that he believed Holloway would beat him in the fight for the interim lightweight title, but Poirier exceeded his expectations.
"Honestly, before [the] fight I think Holloway going to beat him. Dustin has impressed me. I think he has very good boxing, much better than before. I think he deserves a title shot", he said.
The Russian fighter added that although he "respects" Poirier as a "fighter [and] human", once they end up on opposite sides of the octagon on 7 September he will have to "maul him like [he does] with everybody".
"This is what I want, and right now I am focused on September. Five months before [the] fight, and I think it's going to be [a] really good fight with him", Khabib said.
Khabib Nurmagomedov currently holds the lightweight champion title, which he won in a fight against Conor McGregor in October 2018. But upon winning the fight, Khabib initiated a mass melee outside the octagon with McGregor's team, leading led to his suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Committee. He is expected to hold his first fight after the suspension at UFC 241, which is set to take place in Abu Dhabi.