UFC What If: Khabib Nurmagomedov – Charles Oliveira

Daniel Cunningham
Oct 6, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Khabib Nurmagomedov (red gloves) reacts after his fight against Conor McGregor (blue gloves) during UFC 229 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

This past weekend at UFC 269, Charles Oliveira (32-8) defended his lightweight title against Dustin Poirier (28-7, 1 NC). This fight was being looked at as the fight that would legitimize Oliveira as the true champion.

Earlier this year, Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0) officially vacated the lightweight title and retired. The UFC booked Oliveira against Michael Chandler for the vacant lightweight champion.

Oliveira became the UFC champion after stopping Michael Chandler in the second round. However, many looked at Dustin Poirier as the second best lightweight in the UFC only behind Khabib.

With Khabib retired, Poirier was looked at as the top guy. However, Poirier took fights with Conor McGregor over the UFC title shot initially. After Poirier defeated McGregor twice, he got his shot against Oliveira.

The fight was very competitive and saw both men have their moments. That said, UFC 269 belonged to Charles Oliveira who was able to submit Poirier in the third round of their title fight.

The result was the same for Khabib Nurmagomedov when he fought Poirier a few years ago for the lightweight title. With the win, Oliveira has established himself as the best in the UFC.

However, is he the best in the world? One has to wonder what would’ve happened if Khabib never retired. If Khabib came back to the UFC, what would a fight with him and Charles Oliveira look like?

UFC What If

Let’s play the what if game here. What if Khabib came back to the UFC to challenge Charles Oliveira for the lightweight title. The same lightweight title that Khabib never lost inside the octagon.

What would a fight between the two men look like. Well, Oliveira is by far the toughest fight in the promotion for Khabib due to his skills on the ground. Oliveira has more finishes by submissions than anyone in UFC history.

Khabib’s game is his wrestling and top control. Oliveira would constantly be a threat from the bottom. On the feet, Oliveira would have the sizable advantage in the striking with his technique alone.

What would be so fascinating is seeing who would be the one backing up. Khabib is a fighter who never took a back step and that pressure often would fatigue his opponents. However, Oliveira fights the same way and he never takes a back step.

If these two were to fight for the UFC title, I think I would lean towards Khabib. Charles Oliveira would be on his back in this fight without question. Yes, he’s incredibly dangerous from the bottom.

However, I think Khabib’s top game and pressure is so good that he could avoid the submissions. I think Khabib has the style that would ground Oliveira and neutralize him.

That said, if I watched the fight and Oliveira became the first man to defeat Khabib, I wouldn’t be shocked. That’s how good I think the new UFC lightweight champion is.

It’s a dream fight for me and sadly one I think we will never see. That said, it’s still fun to dream. Who do you think would win? Sound off below!