02 Jun, 2020

Luis Pena: Khabib Nurmagomedov showed me where I stand training for UFC on ESPN+ 19 – MMA Junkie

TAMPA, Fla. – Luis Pena spent a good portion of his training camp for UFC on ESPN+ 19 preparing alongside lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, and that provided a huge boost to his confidence going into Saturday’s matchup with Matt Frevola.

Pena (7-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC), who fights out of American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif., said he routinely did live MMA sparring with unbeaten Nurmagomedov (28-0 MMA, 12-0 UFC), who was in camp for his title defense with Dustin Poirier in September, and Pena said it has him feeling sharp for fight night.

“I get to gauge myself against one of the best of all time, and I get to constantly see where I stand in that pecking order,” Pena told MMA Junkie on Wednesday. “I know going into this fight this guy hasn’t trained with the guys that I have, with the level of guys that I have.”

Pena said he intends to beat Frevola (7-1-1 MMA, 1-1-1 UFC) in their lightweight fight, which takes place at Amalie Arena and streams on ESPN+, then renegotiate his UFC contract, which would have one fight remaining.

With his teammate holding the belt, “Violent Bob Ross” said he has no desire to rush up the division and is content with the slow-and-steady approach. He sees title contention in his future, but Pena, 26, said by that point he expects Nurmagomedov to be out of the picture.

“By the time I make it into the title picture, Khabib is going to be retired or on the way out,” Pena said. “I think by the time the belt is going to be talked about, Khabib is going to be on his way out, Islam (Makhachev) will probably be out there, and I’ll be still fighting in the top 15 or top 10. We’ll cross that road when it comes.”

To hear more from Pena on training with Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev, as well as his fight with Frevola, watch the video above.

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