Dubai: UFC Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov says he has the "fire" and "hunger" to finish-off challenger Dustin Poirier when the two MMA fighters face-off at UFC 242 at The Arena, Yas Island in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, September 7.
Speaking on the UFC 242 media call on Friday, Nurmagomedov promised that he’s in the UAE ‘to get the job done’.
“I’ve been here for more than ten days already and my one focus is my fight on Saturday,” the Russian champion said.
“Dustin doesn’t exactly have a one punch knockout power, but you’ve got to see what I am going to do. Of course, I want to feel his speed and I want to feel his power, and that is why I will stand up to him.
“But my ultimate plan is to finish this guy. I have enough fire in my stomach. I have the hunger and the motivation to fight against the best guys at all times,” he added.
27 W, 0 L
With 27 wins and no losses, the reigning UFC lightweight champion holds the longest undefeated streak in MMA.
The YAS Island fight will be his second title defence after submitting Irishman Conor McGregor in the fourth round at UFC 229 last October.
I am gonna feel the atmosphere. This is my area. This is not Dustin’s area. The people who come to watch will be there for me ... this will be my night.
“I’ve been training for this day for the past 100 days,” the Russian, who will turn 31 on September 20, said. “(But) I won’t under-estimate him [Poirier]. Never.
“I am gonna feel the atmosphere. This is my area. This is not Dustin’s area. The people who come to watch will be there for me. I will have the support of all Arab countries from the Middle East and this excites me. This will be my night,” he insisted.
“The climate is different here. The jet-lag is gone and I can feel the good energy here. I love this place.”
Nurmagomedov, currently ranked No 2 in the official UFC pound-for-pound rankings behind light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, insists on maintaining his no-loss record and not becoming complacent.
“The trick is in maintaining focus at all times,” the a native of the mountainous republic of Dagestan in Russia’sNorth Caucasus region, said,
“I am aware that Dustin may be peaking at the right time, and right now I feel that he is the perfect challenge for me. I don’t want to make any mistakes, especially in under-estimating my opponent.
“I believe that if I want to leave my legacy I have to fight and defeat the best. In Dustin I have a tough opponent. But one must also remember that I am the undefeated and undisputed champion of the world carrying the Dagestan name forward,” he added.
UFC returns to the UAE for the first time since its debut in April 2014.
“I think this bout will be important for everyone. The UFC will be keen to see how this fight goes so that they can decide on future events in this region,” Nurmagomedov said.
Next Saturday’s mega fight night will consist of a total of 11 fights highlighted by an exciting women’s bantamweight bout between No. 5-ranked flyweight contender Joanne Calderwood and No. 6-ranked Andrea Lee.
UFC 242 Main Card (PPV)
- UFC Lightweight Championship: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Dustin Poirier
- Edson Barboza vs. Paul Felder
- Islam Makhachev vs. Davi Ramos
- Curtis Blaydes vs. Shamil Abdurakhimov
- Mairbek Taisumov vs. Carlos Diego Ferreira
UFC Preliminary Card
- Ottman Azaitar vs. Teemu Packalen
- Liana Jojua vs. Sarah Moras
UFC Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
- Belal Muhammad vs. Takashi Sato
- Nordine Taleb vs. Muslim Salikhov
- Omari Akhmedov vs. Zak Cummings
- Joanne Calderwood vs. Andrea Lee