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Dan Hooker ‘Leaning’ Towards Justin Gaethje Win Vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov

Dan Hooker is ‘leaning’ towards Justin Gaethje defeating Khabib Nurmagomedov when they unify the lightweight championship belt hopefully in September.

According to Damon Martin of MMA Fighting, Hooker believes Gaethje ultimately has the skill set to give Nurmagomedov trouble for the first time in his career.

“I’m definitely interested,” Hooker said. “Gaethje, if you’re describing a skill set that would give Khabib trouble, it is Gaethje’s skill set. An incredibly strong defensive wrestler who’s very handy on his feet and can dish out a lot of damage. Great cardio being five rounds. Very comfortable being in a main event spot.”

As a result, Hooker believes Nurmagomedov may no longer be undefeated.

“He has the game you would put together to definitely give Khabib his toughest test. I’m leaning more towards Gaethje in that fight,” Hooker said about the fight.

With a 28-0 record and recent wins against Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier, Nurmagomedov is easily the most dominant champion in the UFC right now.

Outside of losing one round to McGregor and a few exchanges with other fighters, there simply has been no answer for Nurmagomedov’s skill set at this point.

During Nurmagomedov’s reign, many viewed Tony Ferguson as the only fighter to have a legitimate chance against him but the fight has been canceled five times.

While most expected Ferguson to defeat Gaethje for the interim lightweight championship belt, the latter had a masterful performance and is gaining support.

After two out of three losses in the UFC, Gaethje has become a much more patient fighter and it has resulted in four straight wins and this highly-anticipated fight.

Armed with one-punch knockout power and leg kicks, Gaethje is also a well-established wrestler but has not had to utilize it at all during his seven fights.

If Gaethje is able to defend Nurmagomedov’s takedowns early in the rounds unlike his past opponents, there is a path to becoming the new lightweight champion.

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