Khatib Looks to Thrill Moncton With Win Over MacGrath


The old saying goes that there is no place like home.  While there is always the comfort level of being around everything that you know and love, it is always nice to spice things up once in a while.  That is what Nabil Khatib is doing as he will face Matt MacGrath at Elite 1 this Saturday in Moncton, New Brunswick.  Khatib is excited about getting his first chance to fight in the Maritimes since 2006.

“It has been a while since I have been out of the Ottawa area for a fight,” says Khatib. “It is kind of disappointing that people are not bringing in people across Canada but most guys are keeping it local to have their shows.  It’s an exciting opportunity to explore the different shows and different venues and I hope something more can come out of it.”

Going into the match, The Thrill faces someone who has had a similar style and path in his career.  Both guys are well rounded fighters who have never been afraid to take on the toughest competition even though they do not always come out on the winning side.   Their records may be close on wins and losses, but they do not show the heart, skill, and determination that each fighter brings when they step into the cage.  These close similarities between MacGrath and Khatib are why it is ranked number 4 in July’s Top Maple Leaf Matchups. While trying to give a perspective on MacGrath, Khatib knows the fight will be complex.

“He is just a tough dude but I don’t know much about his skill,” says Khatib.  “I know he is a tough guy but it’s hard to say.  There is not much to watch from his fights. I had a few teammates who have fought him and they really couldn’t tell me much. I saw his last fight in Bellator and he threw a couple of flurries in his stand-up so there isn’t really much to tell and we will see what happens.”

While the match has a good chance to be a fight of the night candidate, you can’t help but wonder if this is an unofficial number one contendership match to face the winner of the Richard Arsenault/Ricky Goodall Welterweight title fight.  While Khatib is focusing on the task at hand, he can’t help but think about the future a little bit.

 “This is exactly what I am looking forward to,” says Khatib. “If I can win, I can get a shot at the belt at 170.  I have wanted a belt for a long time and I think I have paid my dues and done what I can.  I have had three title fights so far and two were wrong decisions and one I got choked out by Dan Hornbuckle.  So I am just going to keep on trucking and I will never give up.”

Photo: Mike Fischl

While it is fairly uncommon to see fighters in their 40’s still have that fire in their eyes to put on a good show for the fans, you have to wonder how much longer Nabil will stay in the game.  When asked why he continues to step in the cage it was hard to explain where that sparks still comes from.

“I couldn’t tell you, I just love to fight,” says Khatib. “MMA is just a passion of mine and I love to teach the sport.  Being in the cage is a thrill for me.  Maybe you could call it a child obsession for me.  I didn’t get into too many fights when I was a kid and maybe it is coming out now.  What keeps me going, I guess, is that I love the crowd if they boo me or if they cheer for me.”

Going into the fight, one of the major preparations for anyone is the weight cut and having a proper diet in place to make things easier.  With being a chef for over 15 years, Khatib has been able to stay on top of the latest nutrition information while sharing the knowledge with his twitter followers.  There has been one new vegetable that has been put into his diet for this fight and he got the tip from one of his Tristar teammates.

“I have been taking in a lot of kale lately,” says Khatib. “It is really, really good for you but I do not really enjoy the taste of it.  Lately, I have been sprinkling a little lemon juice on it and eating it raw.  I got a tip from Will Romero at Tristar and he makes protein shakes with it. I will just chop it up and stick it in my freezer fresh so it will last forever and I make shakes with it that way. I have also added avocado, coconut milk, quinoa and a lot of fresh greens.”

While he may be looking forward to spending the rest of his summer with his family, teaching, training or getting the chance to ride his new motorcycle, Khatib will look to make an impression for the crowd Saturday, only time will tell if it transfers into a win.

11 Responses to “ Khatib Looks to Thrill Moncton With Win Over MacGrath ”

  1. Dana Dickeson says:

    Two great fighters and super nice guys. I am stoked for this fight. Best of luck to both guys!

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  2. Just Laughable says:

    Great fight two very tough guys who will go to war,,

    only concern is why in every interview or article does Khatib have to whine geesh never scene someone get “””screwed over “”” in “”wrong decisions”” or “”bad reffing”” so many times..

    Maybe take a hint and accept you LOST THEM they did not lose them for you

    That being said good luck to you both in this great match up

    Well-loved! Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  3. Stenson Stark says:

    I will give Khatib all the credit in the world for stepping into a ring against anyone. He never backs down and should be commended for that. I have met him personally on many occasions and is a genuinely great guy.


    I have zero respect for his whining. I cringe every time he blames someone else.

    As for this fight – it should have taken place many years ago. This fight isn’t even going to be close unfortunately.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  4. Big Boi says:

    Why is this a top match up? This reads like a press release that was cribbed.

    Why not ask the hard questions? Why just softball the interview? Real journalism asks the questions which the athlete does not want to answer.

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  5. Donald Duck says:

    Why can’t old fighters just retire and go on to coach or regulate. Imagine the impact someone like Nabil could have on young fighters of regulations. Instead we get to watch Nabil age in front of our eyes over and over again.


    PS – Biggie, some writers around here have a bad habit of publishing a press release as a news story. It’s almost like the Scott Zerr school of journalism has cranked out new grads.

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  6. Jake - Old School says:

    I’m sure Nabil is referring to my client Gunner for one of those “wrong decisions”. Yes it was close Nabil, but to constantly try and create drama by trying to discredit another fighter’s win doesn’t increase your fan base or stock. Nathan (along with the majority of us) respect the hell out of you for being the warrior you are and providing us some epic battles in the past but saying that stuff makes you sound bitter.

    You’re not good at being bitter Nabil. It just overshadows the great career you’ve had.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  7. Stenson Stark says:

    It was his actions after the Holst fight that did it for me. It was a CLEAR loss and the ref was 100% right to call the fight.

    Anyways, I truly wish him the best in this fight as he is going to need it.

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  8. Mr Jason says:

    Matt makes weight at 170.6 lbs, Khatib is over at 178.8 lbs

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  9. Donald Duck says:

    F’n shameful. Nabil is really tarnishing his reputation with each new fight. Didn’t he miss weight in his last fight too?

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  10. Brodes says:

    Has nabil made weight in any of his last 5 fights at 170? It seems like he can’t make 170 anymore.

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  11. Josh@Subtext says:

    Is there anything that can confirm he is over? I can’t find anything online…far as I saw/heard he was on weight this morning, 8lbs seems like a massive jump. **Just curious, not saying you aren’t telling the truth**

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