Serra Lists Ortega, Gaethje as Two Fighters Who Might Give Nurmagomedov Trouble

By: Nathan Zur
Sep 19, 2019

As Khabib Nurmagomedov continues to build his case as the greatest lightweight of all time, one former UFC champ has a few ideas on who might pose a threat to his reign over the division.

Nurmagomedov continued his domination of the 155-pound division with a third-round stoppage of Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi earlier this month. On the UFC Unfiltered podcast, former welterweight champion and longtime lightweight contender Matt Serra contemplated who in the promotion could pose a threat to the undefeated champ.

“The Terror” admitted he was left scratching his head as to which fighter could actually go into the Octagon with Nurmagomedov and test him (via

“Styles make fights. I was thinking, I was there over in Abu Dhabi with Khabib fighting Dustin Poirier and he looked dominant as all F,” Serra said. “It was something else, but styles make fights. So after that fight I’m thinking, is there anything telling in the whole division that somebody can challenge him, [that] can really pose a threat?

“Two names immediately shot up in my head. One, Brian Ortega. I don’t give a f--- what anyone says. That guillotine was tight as hell. I’d love to hear what Khabib says about it, but the fact that he had to go to his hip, he didn’t go straight up belly to ceiling cause he knows that could be it, he had to make him adjust his grip. That thing was tight, man. So if somebody who is a little more precise -- or a lot more precise -- like Brian Ortega, in a transition with a takedown, he gets that arm around the neck, can he finish it?”

Serra believes that Justin Gaethje may have the all-round game that could give the champion some issues considering his obvious knockout power, but more importantly, his ability to stuff takedowns.

“Who’s held down Gaethje and beat him up?” Serra added. “Nobody. He’s so powerful, cardio never seems to be a problem. The way he puts his kicks and his hands [together]. He’s powerful with his fists.”

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