Khabib Nurmagomedov remains firm in retirement from the UFC

Today we saw an interview drop from ESPN’s Brett Okamoto with former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0). This was the first time since late last year that we’ve seen an in-depth interview with the former champion.

Nurmagomedov last fought at UFC 254 in October when he choked out Justin Gaethje in the second round to retain his lightweight title. An emotional Khabib collapsed in tears after the fight concluded.

Earlier in the year, Khabib had lost his father due to COVID-19 complications. Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov was not just Khabib’s father, but also his head coach. Khabib was incredibly close with his father and was transparent about how it was hard to compete without him.

Prior to UFC 254, Khabib made a promise to his mother that the October fight would be his final one. Being a man of his word, Khabib laid his gloves in the octagon after the win and officially announced his retirement.

However, that didn’t stop Dana White from trying to get him back. The UFC President tried for months to change Khabib’s mind. In fact, he recently offered Khabib a fight with fellow legend Georges St. Pierre (26-2). However, Khabib remained firm and stayed retired.

Would anything bring Khabib back to the UFC?

Months ago, Khabib’s friend and training partner Daniel Cormier mentioned a scenario that could bring Khabib back. The scenario involved Charles Oliveira (31-8, 1 NC) going on a massive run and defending his title multiple times.

Among those successful title defenses would be a win over Khabib’s protégé Islam Makhachev (19-1). Okamoto asked Khabib about this scenario and whether or not he would consider coming back to prove to the world that he’s the best.

With a smile, the former UFC champion said, “If everything happens like you say, I will say, ‘At that time, it was Khabib’s time, now it’s Charles’ time’. I’m not going to just jump to the media and say I’m going to fight this guy, that’s not interesting for me.”

Khabib is happy with the way his career panned out. The thing he takes the most pride in is that at the moment he retired, he was the UFC’s top pound-for-pound fighter in the rankings. Khabib said he doesn’t consider himself to be the greatest, but he considers himself to be on the level of the other greats.

However, at one point in time, he was without a doubt the best fighter in the world. Now, Khabib is focusing on his post-fighting career which focuses coaching. He said his father always wanted Makhachev to take over the lightweight division after Khabib retired from the UFC.

Khabib acknowledged with a smile that Islam is a little late on his end of the bargain. However, the former champion aims to do everything he can to make Islam Makhachev a lightweight champion in the UFC just like his father wanted. You can see Khabib’s full interview below.

UFC: Colby Covington said defeating GSP would be ‘Extremely Easy’

UFC, Colby Covington

UFC fans all around the world constantly debate who would win if you paired up champions of today versus champions of yesterday. For example, what would happen if Israel Adesanya fought Anderson Silva when he was in his prime.

One of the fighters that constantly finds himself in those debates is former UFC middleweight and welterweight champion, Georges St. Pierre (26-2). The former champion always finds himself in debates on who would win in pinning him against today’s champions.

A fun debate was always what would happen if a prime GSP took on Khabib Nurmagomedov. While GSP is certainly not in his prime, this is a fight that almost materialized and the UFC tried to make this fight recently.

However, Nurmagomedov is retired and it’s a fight we will never see. Another debate is around whether or not GSP could defeat Kamaru Usman. Could GSP’s style and skills compete with the elite welterweights of today?

Well, one of the best welterweights in the UFC certainly doesn’t think so. Colby Covington (16-2) said this week on the MMA Roasted Podcast that GSP would be light work and said there is no way that GSP could defeat him.

Who’d win in the UFC: GSP or Colby Covington?

Covington said of the former UFC champion, “I don’t think I could beat Georges St-Pierre. I know I’d beat St-Pierre. He was able to take a lot of guys down and hold them down and ground and pound. He’s not taking me down. My cardio is completely different. I’ve never been taken down in the UFC Octagon, so he’s not going to be the first.”

Covington continued, “His striking was very basic, very kindergarten. He didn’t have a lot of tricks. He just had that really good jab, but that’s pretty easy to counter if you’re moving your head and using footwork. I think Georges St-Pierre would have been a very, extremely easy fight for me.”

I will say this about what Covington is saying, GSP would definitely have to use more of his striking against today’s UFC welterweights. GSP really relied on taking his opponents down and controlling him during his dominant run.

I just don’t see him being able to take down Covington or Kamaru Usman. That said, I’m not sure they could take GSP down either which means it could become a striking matchup. With that, I do believe GSP could hang with either man.

Do I believe that GSP would be the dominant champion he was in today’s UFC world? No, I really do not. However, I do think he’d be in that mix of the elite along with guys like Usman and Covington. It would’ve been fun to see how a prime GSP would do against these guys who are at the top now.

UFC recently attempted to make Khabib Nurmagomedov – Georges St. Pierre per Ali Abdelaziz

The UFC recently attempted to make a fight between two of the greatest to ever do it. At least, that’s according to the manager of one of those men, Ali Abdelaziz.

Abdelaziz said on his appearance of Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson that the UFC wanted to make Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0) – Georges St. Pierre (26-2). This potential dream fight almost became a reality in the last couple of weeks.

For the last year or so, Dana White hadn’t expressed any interest in having GSP fight Khabib. However, that apparently changed in the last couple of weeks. Abdelaziz said that the UFC got in touch with him about his client, Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Abdelaziz said, “Two weeks ago ago, Dana White called me. He said, ‘Georges St-Pierre said he’ll fight Khabib in a non-title fight at 165 pounds.’ In a way, we’ve been waiting for Georges.”

Of course, Khabib Nurmagomedov relinquished the UFC lightweight title officially earlier this year when his retirement was confirmed. Nurmagomedov had announced at UFC 254 that he was walking away from the sport.

The UFC dream match that never happened

Khabib said that he promised his mother that UFC 254 was his last fight and he plans to honor that promise. According to Abdelaziz, the former UFC lightweight champion also turned down $100 million to box Floyd Mayweather.

For years, Daniel Cormier has said that Khabib wouldn’t take any fight because of money. It’s pretty obvious now there’s truth to what Cormier was saying. You have to imagine the UFC’s offer was massive to have him fight GSP.

A matchup between GSP and Khabib is a fight fans dream. Of course, it would have been better if GSP was in his prime, but still, UFC fans all around the world would be glued to their televisions for that one.

It’s a matchup that will stay in the barbershop for now. Who would win? We will never know, but it will be a fun topic to debate. It’s just pretty remarkable that the UFC was pushing to make this fight happen just in the last few weeks. You can see Abdelaziz’s appearance on Hotboxin’ Here. 

UFC: Kamaru Usman is not on the same level of Georges St. Pierre yet

Recency bias is a huge thing in the UFC. We see it all the time where a fighter will put on an amazing performance and people are quick to say either it’s the greatest performance of all time or a fighter belongs in the GOAT conversation.

It’s always important to take a deep breath and take a step back after those incredible performances. Last Saturday at UFC 258, Kamaru Usman (18-1) defended his welterweight championship for the third time. He finished Gilbert Burns (19-4) in the second round.

Kamaru Usman looked sensational and he showed off that he’s the total package. He’s got incredible grappling and now his striking has progressed to being some of the best in the division. After the fight was over, there was already talk about where Kamaru Usman ranks against the greats.

Part of the reason for this is the fact that Usman’s win on Saturday was his thirteenth straight victory in the UFC‘s welterweight division. That win broke the previous all time record held by Georges St. Pierre (26-2).

GSP is widely considered to be either the greatest of all time or on the short list. His reign in the UFC was truly something special and it’s even more remarkable considering that he walked away at 32 years old. One year younger than Kamaru Usman is now.

Sure, GSP came back and won the middleweight title at UFC 217. However, his welterweight reign came to a close at just 32 years old when he decided to walk away from the sport. Who knows what GSP could’ve done if he would have kept going back in 2013 and stayed motivated.

Is the UFC champ on the same level as GSP?

After Saturday night, there were some people that have staked the claim that Kamaru Usman is on the same level as the UFC hall of famer, Georges St. Pierre. A big point to that argument, as Daniel Cormier said this week, is the competition level.

The MMA game has evolved so much just in the last ten years. Fighters now are better than ever and some believe that the stiffer competition should give Usman more of a bump. Frankly, I agree with that statement.

However, it’s important to remember that Usman just completed his third title defense. Yes, he’s won 13 in a row in the division, but he’s only defended his title three times. There’s something to the pressure of title fights regardless of competition. At his peak, GSP defended the welterweight title nine times.

Overall, St. Pierre was 13-2 in title fights between welterweight and middleweight. In my opinion, the two greatest fighters in UFC history are Jon Jones and Georges St. Pierre. Their body of work cannot be denied and they deserve those spots on the mountain.

Yes, the competition is better than ever now. However, Kamaru Usman has more work to do before he’s on the same level as GSP. Will it take him nine title defenses to get there? I don’t believe so because of the competition level. However, he definitely needs more than three.

UFC: Is there anything to the latest Khabib – GSP rumors?

This week the UFC world has been buzzing with another rumor surrounding Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0). This rumor all started a few days ago when former fighter and broadcaster, Kenny Florian, talked about a potential superfight on his podcast with Jon Anik. 

On the podcast, Florian said, “It (The Rumor) comes from a well-known coach who apparently is aware of a fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and a legend of the UFC in Georges St. Pierre. Supposedly, that is a fight that Georges might be getting ready for.”

Of course, this has had the world buzzing. It’s worth noting that Florian might be talking about Firas Zahabi who is his former coach as well as the head coach of GSP. Nevertheless, Florian might actually be someone who knows something.

Since then, the manager of the UFC lightweight champion has come out and said that the rumor was, “Fake news.” Ever since Khabib retired after UFC 254, people have said that the only fight he would come back for is a fight with Georges St. Pierre (26-2).

Will the UFC ever make it happen?

Dana White recently has said that the fight would never get made. However, there is a lot of things that Dana has said would never happen and they did. For example, Tito Ortiz returning to the UFC or women fighting in the UFC.

Moral of the story is to never say never in this game. Now, the likelihood of this fight actually happening is pretty low. Khabib’s late father, Abdulmanap, wanted the GSP fight to be Khabib’s final fight in the UFC.

To the Nurmagomedov’s, GSP was the perfect opponent to cement his legacy at 30-0. St. Pierre has been vocal about his desire to take the fight if that fight is ever offered to him by the UFC.

That said, with each passing day, GSP gets a little older. The former two-division champion has only fought once since 2013 and he turns 40 in May. I lean on the side of thinking this fight isn’t going to happen. However, there’s been smoke there for a long time and whoever truly knows with the UFC.

UFC: Dana White says that Khabib Nurmagomedov will fight again

In January, Conor McGregor (22-4) and Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC) are expected to headline UFC 257. The card will take place on January 23rd and it will be a massive fight for the UFC‘s lightweight division.

Many have been speculating on what will be on the line that night. Will the winner earn a shot at the lightweight championship, or will the winner become the UFC‘s lightweight champion.

The reason that there’s questions is due to current champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0). Nurmagomedov stormed through Justin Gaethje last month at UFC 254 to successfully defend his lightweight crown.

After the fight was over, Khabib laid his gloves in the center of the cage and said that he was retiring. However, UFC President, Dana White, has been saying recently that he doesn’t think Nurmagomedov might be retiring.

With Nurmagomedov retired, it would make sense for the UFC to put up the lightweight title for the McGregor – Poirier fight. However, last night, Dana White doubled down and said that there would be no title on the line on January 23rd.

UFC’s Lightweight Situation

When asked about the title and the January PPV, White told the media, “No. Khabib’s gonna fight. I believe he’s gonna fight. It’s (UFC 257) not for the title.” White shut down the notion that McGregor and Poirier would determine the lightweight champion.

If that holds true, there are a lot of questions surrounding what will happen with Khabib Nurmagomedov. Nurmagomedov’s father, who passed away this year, wanted him to retire at 30-0. However, his father had one fight in mind for that final fight.

It’s been said that Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov wanted Khabib to fight Georges St. Pierre in his final fight. A fight between those two could determine who is the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.

The former two-division world champion, GSP, has said that he is interested in fighting Khabib. There is so much respect there, but this would be a legacy matchup for both men.

If I had to guess, I think we are going to see the following situation play out. McGregor and Poirier will fight in January with Michael Chandler facing Tony Ferguson in the co-main event of the evening.

The winner of those two fights will fight each other. While that mini tournament is going on, Khabib Nurmagomedov will fight Georges St. Pierre at lightweight to determine the greatest fighter of all time.

Either Khabib will retire at 30-0 or GSP will become the first fighter in history to have captured titles in three weight classes. A very fluid but fun situation in the UFC‘s lightweight division at the moment.

UFC: Dana White thinks Khabib Nurmagomedov will try to go for 30-0

This past Saturday at UFC 254, Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated Justin Gaethje to retain his lightweight championship of the world. It was an emotional ending for Nurmagomedov who fought for the first time since his father had passed away.

Following the fight, Nurmagomedov laid his gloves in the middle of the octagon and announced his retirement. Many in the UFC community were not expecting this to happen. Nurmagomedov’s father’s dream had been for him to go 30-0 then retire.

However, Khabib said that he promised his mother that UFC 254 would be his last fight. Just a few days later, and we are hearing that he might not be done. Since the announcement, UFC President Dana White has had a chance to talk with Nurmagomedov.

White seems to think Khabib might have been in the moment. He told CBS Sports Zach Gelb, “Khabib and I have been talking. He was completely emotional that night when he got through that fight. I have a feeling that he might go for 30-0.”

The UFC’s options for Khabib

There are a few options for the UFC when it comes to Khabib Nurmagomedov and his 30th fight. However, I think that there is one clear fight for him to cap off his career and his legacy. That would be a fight with Georges St. Pierre.

GSP is known as arguably the greatest of all time. He was a dominant champion in the welterweight division, then he moved up to capture the UFC middleweight title. He’s always been interested in coming out of retirement for the Nurmagomedov fight.

GSP recently told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani that he was happy for Khabib after the retirement. However, he said that his door would be open if Khabib was interested in coming back and facing him. That could very well be the case if what White’s saying comes true.

Of course, the UFC could always try to book the Conor McGregor rematch. However, Khabib has already won that war in his eyes. A fight with GSP would be a legacy fight for both men and a very rare opportunity for fight fans around the globe to see arguably the two greatest of all time go head to head.

If Khabib Nurmagomedov wins at UFC 254, something special is next

The UFC‘s undisputed lightweight king put the retirement rumors to bed at today’s media day. As Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0) took questions he said that he didn’t believe that he would retire if he defeats Justin Gaethje (22-2) at UFC 254.

Nurmagomedov talked about his love for competition and his love for competing inside the UFC. The champ told reporters, “I love competition. I love competing with the best fighters in the world. That’s why I’m here. I’m not in the UFC to make money.”

There have been a lot of rumors talking about what would be next if Nurmagomedov remains unbeaten at UFC 254. There have been questions on if he would walk away or if he’d rematch Conor McGregor or perhaps a match with Georges St. Pierre. The lightweight champ said Dana White is working on something for him after the fight.

“We have a couple of options. We’re going to think about this after this fight. Dana told me, after this fight, he has something special for me. They said, ‘We have very big things after this fight for you,'” Nurmagomedov told reporters.

What are the UFC’s Plans?

It is unclear right now what the UFC has in store for Khabib if he’s able to defeat Gaethje later this month which will be no easy task. You could make the argument that Justin Gaethje is the hardest stylistic matchup for Khabib inside the UFC‘s lightweight division.

If Khabib wins on October 24th, I think that the GSP fight is definitely one of the options on the table. We’ve also heard about a potential coaching stint on the Ultimate Fighter with Conor McGregor. Although Dana White said that was off the table yesterday.

Khabib Nurmagomedov has become one of the biggest stars in the UFC. If he does only have a couple of fights left with the promotion, I expect the UFC to try to do some big things for him. While nothing is set in stone until after UFC 254, I would expect it to be something big.

UFC: Georges St. Pierre believes he would be at a disadvantage fighting Khabib at lightweight

george st pierre

The most dominant champion in the UFC will be making his return in October. Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0) is taking on Justin Gaethje (22-2) on Fight Island to determine who is the best lightweight in the world.

Nurmagomedov has said that if he defeats Gaethje at UFC 254, he would want one more fight before he calls it a career. He believes that finishing 30-0 would be the perfect way to cap off his hall of fame career.

If Khabib defeats Gaethje, he has said that he wants to fight Georges St. Pierre (26-2) in 2021. Khabib’s coach Javier Mendez has said that a fight between the two would settle who is the greatest fighter in MMA History.

A fight with Khabib is one that the former UFC welterweight and middleweight champion would come out of retirement for. However, GSP doesn’t believe it would be to his advantage to fight at lightweight.

Chasing a third UFC title

As you can see from his interview with BT Sport, GSP says that at 39, he would be at disadvantage when it comes to weight and age. Despite those, I think he would still chase this fight if the UFC was willing to make it happen.

GSP would get the opportunity to do something that no one in the history of the UFC has done. Not one fighter has captured a title in three weight classes. If GSP moved down to lightweight to dethrone Khabib, he would accomplish history.

Right now, the GOAT debate seems to center around Jon Jones and Georges St. Pierre. If GSP moved down to defeat at 29-0 Khabib, to me he would win the argument. Yes, Jones has never lost yet, but how could you deny the accomplishments of Georges St. Pierre.

I would personally love to see the UFC make this fight if Khabib gets through Gaethje in October. I will say, I wish the fight could have happened when GSP was a few years younger. While still in amazing shape, one has to wonder how GSP would do against the younger champion.

It would be a fascinating fight on a number of levels. The only way the UFC would make this fight happen is if Nurmagomedov says that he will definitely retire afterwards. Both men could walk away win or lose which would allow the UFC to then move on with the lightweight division.

 

Is the UFC finalizing Tony Ferguson – Dustin Poirier?

Tony Ferguson, UFC

There is no better division in MMA than the lightweight division. It’s the deepest talent pool in the sport. In October, the current two best in the world, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje, will battle for the UFC lightweight championship at UFC 254.

Behind them, former interim lightweight champions, Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC) and Tony Ferguson (25-4) have both been on social media teasing their next UFC fight. When asked if these two were going to fight each other, UFC President Dana White smiled and said, “Probably.” We now might know our timeline for the event.

A UFC Card in October

At the end of next month, the UFC will be heading back to Fight Island, likely starting with UFC 253. White has said that the promotion is expecting to stay there for five or six weeks straight. UFC 254 headlined by Khabib – Gaethje will be on Fight Island.

With Poirier coming out and stating that his next fight is two months away, it’s likely that the anticipated matchup with Ferguson will also be on Fight Island in October. It’ll be interesting to see which card the UFC decides to place this matchup.

A lot of fans were jumping at the possibility of this being the co-main event to Khabib – Gaethje. While that would certainly boost the PPV card, I feel like fans would be robbed a little if this was a co-main event.

To me, a fight between the two former UFC champions needs to be it’s own main event. One of the fight nights on Fight Island so we can see these two guys go five full rounds. Both men are capable, and you know it would be an insane fight.

Ferguson is coming off a loss to Justin Gaethje at UFC 249 while Poirier is coming off of a win against Dan Hooker at UFC on ESPN 12. A win for either one of these men would likely make them next for whoever wins between Khabib and Gaethje.

Of course, the one thing that could throw a wrench into the plans is Khabib’s desired fight with Georges St. Pierre. If Nurmagomedov decides he wants to fight GSP then walk away, it’ll leave the winner of Ferguson – Poirier with no one to fight.

Perhaps the UFC would pivot to another title fight with the Notorious Conor McGregor in that case. So Khabib would ride off into the sunset after fighting GSP and McGregor would fight the winner of Poirier – Ferguson for the UFC lightweight title after it’s vacated. A lot of interesting scenarios in the UFC‘s lightweight division.