If Dustin Poirier can remain upright in his meeting with the returning Khabib Nurmagomedov, Michael Bisping thinks he has a chance to win.
Khabib Nurmagomedov will be in for a tough lightweight title defence at UFC 242 if Dustin Poirier can produce a repeat of his display against Max Holloway, says Michael Bisping.
Poirier claimed a unanimous-decision victory over Holloway to claim the interim lightweight title at UFC 236 and earn a shot at Khabib, who will make his return to the octagon following a suspension for his part in the brawl that followed his triumph over Conor McGregor in October 2018.
The formidable Nurmagomedov is undefeated in 27 mixed martial arts bouts but former UFC middleweight champion Bisping feels Poirier could pull off an upset in Abu Dhabi if he is able to keep the fight off the canvas.
“He’ll fight the way he always fights – a very wrestling-heavy game plan,” Bisping told Omnisport of his expectations for Khabib when promoting his book ‘Quitters Never Win’.
“He’s probably not going to try to stand with Dustin Poirier, that’s not his thing, that’s not what he does. He’s going to try to take him down.
“Dustin looked tremendous against Max Holloway, I thought he looked the best ever. I actually thought Max would beat Dustin in that fight and Dustin went out there and looked tremendous, his boxing was incredible, conditioning, everything – it was a beautiful performance.
“If that match shows up to fight Khabib, Khabib’s got problems. The problem is, can he stop the takedown?
“If he can’t stop the takedown, Khabib’s on a fast track to victory. I think that’s where the fight is going to be won and lost. Can Khabib take him down and can he hold him down?”
Bisping does not expect Khabib to look for a rematch with McGregor, suggesting the Russian is keen to get away from the pantomime and controversy that overshadowed their previous clash.
“I don’t think he wants to fight McGregor again, he’s been there and done that,” said Bisping.
“Khabib doesn’t like the negative attention. Khabib’s a great person, he’s a devout Muslim, he’s off building wells I think in Africa in his spare time and that, he’s a great person.
“That whole controversy side of things he doesn’t like, he doesn’t revel in those moments. That’s why at those pressers he just sat there and didn’t say very much – McGregor did all the talking.
“I think he’s happy to distance himself. But this is a huge fight. It’s going to be huge for the brand, for the sport, and for Khabib and Dustin.”
Quitters never Win by Michael Bisping is out now, published by Ebury Press.