UFC lightweight champion and GOAT Khabib Nurmagomedov spoke recently with ACA light heavyweight Magomed Ismailov and discussed Conor McGregor, Tony Ferguson, and welterweight GOAT Georges St-Pierre. "The Eagle" argued that you can stick a fork in "The Notorious" - that we will never again reach championship greatness.
“Never," said Khabib, according to the subtitles. "There is no way that a man can be at the peak for two times. I’m not talking about [just McGregor]. What I mean is, a man can’t have two primes. A team could do it. For example, Real Madrid did this a few times in a row. Teams may have this, but we’re talking about us and one man, on his own, cannot have this.”
Khabib also spoke about Tony Ferguson, who the universe decided emphatically to keep out of the Octagon with Nurmagomedov. And after a fight between the two was snake-bitten five times, Ferguson lost to Justin Gaethje and Charles Oliveira.
“I swear I never considered [Ferguson] an elite lightweight,” said Khabib. “He was very good but I never counted him so because it’s impossible to be elite at 37 years old. It’s never been before and even I cannot do this. At 37 years in the lightweight division, no way. But heavyweights can. It’s my opinion and you cannot change it.
“Secondly, since 2016 he fought Kevin Lee, [Edson] Barboza, [Anthony] Pettis, and [Donald] Cerrone. These fighters have 20 losses for these four years! It means that since 2016 he didn’t fight good fighters. But now he faced young and top fighters, I mean Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje. They outclassed him, you saw this. Both fighters just dominated Tony.”
Ferguson is the one that got away, but he's not alone. For years Nurmagomedov has advocated for the GOAT superfight, but it appears he has let it go.
“When you say Georges St-Pierre, that name really motivates me,” said Khabib. “GSP really makes me excited and so on but it’s all over, brother. He’s 40 years old. Let’s just leave it. For sure we like him as a human being. He is the legend. He is the decent representation of mixed martial arts. Let it be like this, there’s GSP and Khabib.”
What do you think UG? Can McGregor win a title again? Was Tony Ferguson ever truly elite? And is GSP vs. Khabib another one that will never happen?