“He’ll be the only guy that never loses,” Cormier said Tuesday while on a media tour to promote The Ultimate Fighter 27. “He’s not going to lose, man. They won’t know how to deal with him. He’s going to be the only guy that goes through this whole thing without losing. Because I’m not sure he’s going to be here that long. But while he’s here, nobody’s going to beat him.”
The list of fighters who can’t beat Nurmagomedov includes former lightweight and featherweight champion Conor McGregor, in Cormier’s opinion.
Cormier concedes McGregor’s controversial UFC 223 media day attack on a van in which Nurmagomedov was sitting will help turn their potential bout into a giant moneymaker, but it won’t be a fight which ends well for the Irishman.
“He’ll fight Conor McGregor,” the UFC light heavyweight champion said. “It’s going to happen. I think because of the finances, it will be the most viable fight for [McGregor]. He created more interest in that fight with that crazy action that he did. He’s going to get taken down and smashed.”
Cormier bases his take on what went down at the UFC 189 fight between McGregor and short-notice replacement Chad Mendes. Mendes controlled McGregor for most of two rounds before making the fatal mistake of letting him back up after a choke attempt.
If that was the case for McGregor against a featherweight wrestler, then Cormier doesn’t see how McGregor can handle Nurmagomedov’s smothering ground game.
“When I watch Conor fight Chad Mendes, Chad Mendes is a great wrestler but he’s small,” Cormier said. “He beat him up for two rounds. He beat Conor for two rounds until Conor got up.
“He had done that for two straight rounds on 10 days’ notice. He ain’t getting up like Al Iaquinta got up. You see what happens when you get stuck under Khabib. You become frickin’ Edson Barboza and Michael Johnson.”
Cormier also dismissed the critics of Nurmagomedov’s performance against Iaquinta, noting that the bar must be set pretty high if people aren’t impressed with a 50-43 fight.
“I know Joe [Rogan] got a lot of criticism for when he said, when he walked into the Octagon he was the most unbeatable guy [but] by the third or fourth round he had so many holes that they could envision four or five guys beating him. Those guys have no chance. He beat Al Iaquinta easy, man. When you’re winning a fight 50-43, and people are judging you as if you didn’t fight well, you know that you’re on a whole different stratosphere.”