Shortly before the turn of the New Year, Nurmagomedov moved a step closer to setting up one of most desired fights in UFC history by defeating Edson Barboza in the co-main event of UFC 219.
The Dagestan native must now see off the challenge of interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson in the main event of UFC 223 in order to land his ‘Red Panty Night’ with McGregor.
A bout between McGregor and Nurmagomedov is high on many mixed martial arts fans’ lists due to the pair’s respective fighting styles.
In the eyes of many, Nurmagomedov’s wrestling-oriented game is McGregor kryptonite.
John Kavanagh believes Nurmagomedov will provide McGregor with a stern test but believes his most famous student will put ‘The Eagle’ to sleep inside two rounds.
“I do think this is the immovable object and the unstoppable force. They’re on a path to meeting each other,” Kavanagh said during a Facebook live interview to promote Wimp 2 Warrior. “So I’m of course watching everything that he does.
“And in his last fight, I just think when you’re facing somebody with the type of stopping power that Conor has in his hands, if you stand very much upright and just kind of walk to somebody to get a body lock, that’s a risky strategy.
“Now Barboza is a great kicker, but I think trying spinning kicks on somebody who can close distance on somebody like Khabib and has a body lock heavy grappling game is maybe not the best idea.
“But for somebody who can make people overextend themselves and has genuine one-punch knockout power, and we’ve seen Khabib been wobbled by Michael Johnson, for example, I find it hard to visualise anything other than Conor knocking him out.”
Although Kavanagh foresees McGregor adding Nurmagomedov’s name to his list of victims, the SBG Ireland head coach is under no illusion that the task will be a straightforward one.
He added: “Now we have to be ready because he has shown that he can walk through some shots. And there will be those grappling exchanges.
“So we’ve got to be in incredible shape, we’ve got to be ready for his chain wrestling and how he puts his takedowns together. But that’s a match as a fan I would love to see.
“I think it’s the ultimate striker versus grappler match up. But of course, they’re well-round in all areas.
“But I think Conor’s striking and then his submission game as well will cause problems. But long story short, I think within two rounds Conor would knock him out.
“I think it would be maybe a little bit like the Eddie Alvarez fight and he would stop him in the second.”