Tape of the tales: Best backstory nuggets for UFC 242

Height? Reach? Who cares? Let’s break down UFC 242 based purely on the best backstories from the main card.

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Dustin Poirier

Nurmagomedov: As evidenced by his jump out of the cage to brawl with Team Conor McGregor, Khabib doesn’t always make the wisest choices about when and whom to fight … which began as a kid, when his dad let him grapple with a bear cub in what’s become Khabib lore. “There wasn’t anything else to do,” Dad says.

Poirier: Lafayette, Louisiana, gave Poirier a key to the city in May because of his relentless community work. In recent years, The Diamond has auctioned off fight kits to help out the family of a deceased police officer, start a food bank and build a disability-friendly playground.

Islam Makhachev vs. Davi Ramos

Makhachev: Makhachev, who grew up in Dagestan alongside Khabib, enters with a career record of 17-1, which includes exactly zero fights seen by his mom. She can’t handle being there in person and goes into another room when her son comes on TV.

Ramos: Good luck topping Ramos’ flair for the dramatic. The Brazilian once had a jiujitsu tournament finals foe lie down to lure him to the ground, and Ramos hit him with a ridiculous flying armbar to earn the quick tapout.

Curtis Blaydes vs. Shamil Abdurakhimov

Blaydes: Blaydes is a bit of an accidental star. After a solid juco wrestling career, he decided
to try MMA just until he lost. That didn’t happen for two years and 13 total fights, when he realized he might have the talent-and drive-to do it as a career.

Abdurakhimov: Abdurakhimov is a historical fiction movie junkie (he especially loves Troy and Gladiator). And he’s a big fan of chilling out-literally-after fights by taking cryo baths in liquid nitrogen. “They try to turn me into ice cream,” he jokes.

* Tune in to the main card of UFC 242 on Sept. 7 at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN PPV.

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