Cormier: McGregor will get ‘smashed’ by Nurmagomedov if UFC rivals fight

UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov throws an uppercut at Al Iaquinta during the fifth round of a their UFC 223 main event bout. (Frank Franklin II/AP)

Conor McGregor vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov is probably the most lucrative fight the UFC could put together right now and Nurmagomedov’s teammate, UFC light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, doesn’t think it would be all too competitive.

“It’s going to happen,” Cormier told gathered media in California this week while promoting the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter, the UFC’s longstanding reality series. “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.”

Nurmagomedov recently won the UFC lightweight title—a title the organization recently stripped McGregor of—by dominating Al Iaquinta for five rounds earlier this month at UFC 223. Earlier that week, Nurmagomedov got into an altercation with McGregor’s friend and teammate, Artem Lobov, and McGregor retaliated by attempting to incite a confrontation.

McGregor is now facing criminal charges in New York because of it but the incident has also acted as effective publicity for a potential McGregor-Nurmagomedov matchup.

Nurmagomedov is widely considered the most dominant grappler in mixed martial arts and, while McGregor has proven himself to be among the most precise and efficient strikers in UFC history, Cormier sides with the grappler.

“When I watch Conor fight Chad Mendes, Chad Mendes is a great wrestler but he’s small,” Cormier said of McGregor’s UFC 189 interim featherweight title fight with Mendes. “He beat him up for two rounds. He beat Conor for two rounds until Conor got up. [Mendes] had done that for two straight rounds on 10 days’ notice. [McGregor] ain’t getting up like Al Iaquinta got up. You see what happens when you get stuck under Khabib. You become [previous unsuccessful Nurmagomedov opponents] Edson Barboza and Michael Johnson.”

Nurmagomedov improved to 26-0 in MMA with his victory over Iaquinta and Cormier can’t imagine anybody beating his American Kickboxing Academy pal anytime soon, regardless of their style or skill level.

“He’ll be the only guy that never loses,” Cormier added. “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.”

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