“Cometh the hour, cometh the man,” and there have been many a man that has failed to circumvent that final hurdle, en route to the pot of gold harboured at the multi-coloured rainbow’s end – Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov ain’t one of those men.
Albeit, Tony Ferguson’s impressive win over former divisional champ, Rafael dos Anjos at UFC FN 98 bumped him up to next in line for a tilt at the title (knocking Nurmagomedov off his perch), a scintillating victory over Michael Johnson will no doubt reinstate Nurmagomedov as the rightful heir to said position.
The 28-year-old Dagestan resident, who has been sidelined with injuries for two years, made a successful return to the eight-walled cage in April of this year – scoring a second-round TKO win over UFC neophyte Darrell Horcher.
The stage is now set for “The Eagle” to solidify his position as the 155 division’ #1 contender once again.
Johnson by no means is an easy out – “The Menace” is coming off a first-round blitzkrieg of then-ameliorating Dustin Poirier.
Nonetheless, Johnson has never thrown down with someone who possesses the wrestling and grappling prowess of Nurmagomedov – relentless and ruthless.
Damn! The late great Muhammad Ali wrestled with alligators (hyperbole), but the Russian? The Russian wrestled with wild bears. Go figure.
Furthermore, the AKA-trained fighter has improved in his stand-up game; an area where some would say Johnson, 30, has the edge.
That notwithstanding, Nurmagomedov (23-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) will have too much in his arsenal for the Blackzilians combatant.
At UFC 205, expect “The Eagle” to land feet first – triumphing via submission. Thus setting up a title shot against the winner of the main event to be contested between sitting champ Eddie Alvarez, and featherweight kingpin Conor McGregor.