The world is over two months away from witnessing UFC 254 as UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov defends his division crown against fellow wrestler Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje on October 24 at the UFC APEX.
Knowing the track record of the champion during his 7-year tenure with the company, he remains just as undefeated with the UFC at 12-0 as he did outside the world’s top promotion at 16-0, amassing 28 consecutive wins without a loss, which is an MMA record. It’s safe to say that when “The Eagle” spreads its wings to fly, it soars to heights that most fighters have failed to reach.
Anderson Silva holds the longest undefeated streak of 16 consecutive wins from 2006-2013, which also lasted for seven years, like Nurmagomedov’s tenure. Both streaks began in the first seven years of their UFC careers. The Safford, Arizona native has a win streak of four after two straight losses to Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier.
Also with 12 fights in the UFC, he sports a 10-2 record. Gaethje is more than qualified to attempt. The Northern Colorado standout is anticipating a matchup where he plans to “represent death” and to “create car crashes”.
19 of Gaethje’s 22 wins have come by way of knockout, while his only two losses have come by that same result. It’s safe to say that he lives by the sword and dies by it. As for the champion, Nurmagomedov has only 8 knockouts while holding ten wins by submission and decision, making him more versatile in finishing his opponents.
Is Gaethje trying to rattle an unrattleable spirit in Nurmagomedov or is this just a smashmouth game plan being broadcast by a forward moving, pace pushing seize-the-moment type fighter looking to do what all have failed to do: End The Streak?
When you talk about wrestling and win streaks, there was Rulon Gardner who ended a 13-consecutive year international win streak of Olympic beast Alexander Karelin in the 2000 Olympic Summer Games to win the gold medal. When these two lock horns, Khabib’s win streak will be over 12 years, just a year shy of Karelin’s streak.
Will “The Eagle” fly his way to a 29th straight win as he continues to chase Silva’s UFC undefeated streak or will Gaethje’s upset of the 155-pound king become “The Highlight” of his career?