UFC 254 is fast approaching, and one of this year’s biggest bouts is headlining the Main Card: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje. Gaethje is tipped to be one of Khabib’s most dangerous opponents to date. However, the Russian, who boasts a record of 28-0, is the odds-on favourite – according to the Khabib vs Gaethje odds.

Ahead of the event in Abu Dhabi on October 24th, let’s take a look back at the pair’s opponents in common. Read on to find out more!

Dustin Poirier

In 2019, Khabib agreed a new multi-fight contract with the UFC. The first of those fights was a title defense against interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier. The bout, which was the last time Khabib entered the Octagon, was the main event at the Abu Dhabi hosted UFC 242 on September 7th 2019, and the Russian won via a rear-naked choke in the third round – unifying the division and earning The Eagle his second ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus.

It wasn’t as straightforward for Gaethje when he faced Poirier at UFC on Fox, in the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona, back in April 2018. The bout between Poirier and Gaethje headlined the event. The pair traded blow-for-blow throughout the fight, and, 33 seconds into the fourth round, Poirier won via TKO (punches). The bout was awarded the ‘Fight of the Night’ award, but it was back-to-back defeats for The Highlight, who lost to Eddie Alvarez – via a brutal knee KO – in December 2017.

Edson Barboza

Khabib went toe-to-toe with Edson Barboza on the Main Card of UFC 219, which was headlined by a Women’s Featherweight Championship bout between Cris Cyborg and Holly Holm, in Las Vegas, back in December 2017. The Eagle dominated all three rounds and won the fight via unanimous decision. Khabib was awarded his first ‘Performance of the Night’ award for the impressive display, which moved him onto 25-0, and earned himself a title shot – beating Al laquinta to the vacant belt in his next bout.

Gaethje and Barboza headlined UFC on ESPN 2. The event was held at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, in March 2019, and, unlike his bout against Khabib, Barboza didn’t put up much of a fight, as The Highlight went on to knock him clean out, with a brutal right hook, just two minutes and 30 seconds into the first round. It was Gaethje’s fourth ‘Fight of the Night’ award.

Michael Johnson

It was in 2016, at UFC 205, when Khabib faced Michael Johnson. The bout was on the Preliminary Card at New York’s Maddison Square Garden, as Alvarez vs Conor McGregor headlined the event. In typical fashion, The Eagle dominated his opponent, and forced The Menace to submit, via a kimura, two minutes and 31 seconds into the third round.

Following his defeat to Khabib in November 2016, Johnson took to the Octagon again in July 2017 – this time to go toe-to-toe with Gaethje. The bout, which headlined The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, was The Highlight’s first UFC fight, after vacating his World Series of Fighting belt in favour of the UFC, and he got off to a winning start – TKO’ing Johnson in the second round. The bout was given the ‘Fight of the Night’ award and Gaethje was awarded with the ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus.

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