I knew Khabib Nurmagomedov was good. I knew he had extremely strong wrestling and a pretty decent gas tank, but I was expecting his fight against Pat Healy at UFC 165 to be a great back-and-forth battle.
Boy, I was wrong. Nurmagomedov was able to dominate Pat Healy from pillar to post. It was a career-changing performance for the young lightweight and will be sure to put him in against a top-five opponent for his next fight.
Nurmagomedov recently moved camps to the very prestigious American Kickboxing Academy for this fight and it paid off in spades. Nurmagomedov was even able to utilize a huge slam against Healy that was very reminiscent of Matt Hughes’ slam against Frank Trigg. AKA has been known for their amazing wrestlers, as everyone from Jon Fitch to Cain Velasquez trains there and is training with Nurmagomedov each day.
This is only going to make his impressive wrestling even better. The only downside to this is that hopefully he does not become too one-dimensional. I doubt that will happen, but it is something to keep an eye on.
The real question is who is next for Nurmagomedov? With the beating he just gave Healy, he should absolutely get a top-five opponent. I think that Nurmagomedov should fight the winner of Diego Sanchez and Gilbert Melendez. Both of those guys are known for exciting fights, and seeing Nurmagomedov fight either of them would not only best a test for the fighters, but has Fight of the Year potential all over it.
No matter who he fights next, I’m excited to see that Nurmagomedov popped his head out from under the rock to join the ranks of the elite at lightweight.