Dan Hardy Thinks We Will See ‘A Very Different Version Of Conor McGregor’ Against Khabib Nurmagomedov
UFC commentator and analyst Dan Hardy has given his early thoughts on the upcoming Conor McGregor vs Khabib Nurmagomedov fight going down on Oct. 6 at UFC 229.
There’s been no shortage of 0pinions already cast, but when it comes to those who you can really respect, Hardy’s ranks right up there. Speaking on the latest BBC MMA Show, Hardy broke down the fight and he looked at it from the perspective of the Irishman.
‘The first thing we need to think about is how Conor is going to approach this,” Hardy said. “He knows Khabib is going to come forward and it’s going to be difficult for Conor to push Khabib up against the fence like he has done everybody else. This is where he usually lines people up for the power left hand.
“It’s going to different in this one because Khabib is going to push forward no matter what Conor is throwing, he did the same to Edson Barboza who is a vicious kicker and he walked through most of his kicks. He knows it’s going to hurt and he’s going to have to weather an early storm, but he also knows that once he gets his hands on someone, he does what he likes.”
Whilst Hardy has a lot of respect for Nurmagomedov’s elite grappling, he believes that he has an obvious weakness that McGregor will look to expose come fight night.
“Because he’s unbeaten and no one has ever proved different to him, no one has ever caught him with a good shot and put him down. We saw him hurt in the Michael Johnson fight, but Khabib’s main vulnerability for me in this fight is that he’s got no footwork, he only knows forward, there are no ideas of cutting off the Octagon until he can lay his hands on someone.
“So that’s where Conor gets into this fight, he’s very intelligent. He’ll be circling off and walking Khabib into that left hand. I think this is going to be a very different version of Conor than we’ve ever seen. I think we will see a lot more lateral movement and a lot more footwork. I think he’s going to come in slightly lighter and better conditioned, and I think he’s going to be expecting to be taken down at least a couple of times.”
Hardy also believes that the fact that the fight is only a little under two months away, plays into the hands of McGregor. Whose conditioning is the better could be a big factor on fight night and Hardy thinks McGregor called for the fight sooner rather than later hoping that Nurmagomedov would have a tougher weight cut.
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“The quick turnaround for this fight for me tells me that if he can get Khabib to be mainly focused on his weight cut for the fight, and overconfident that he’s going to be able to do what he always does, then Conor will think he will be able to predict what he’s going to do in there and set him up,” Hardy continued.
“I think that weathering an early storm is likely for Conor and I think he’s going to have to maybe get out the first round and get back to his feet a couple of times, but I think he will find a place for that left hand in the late second or early third and I think Khabib will walk onto it. We’ve seen him slow down in the Al Iaquinta fight when we saw him do five rounds. He did slow down and there are points where you start thinking to yourself that if he was fighting Conor and if there was that sharp left hand in the toolbox, he’d be in trouble.”