When people talk about the greatest MMA fighter of all-time, names like Anderson Silva, Jon Jones and Georges St. Pierre constantly pop up. However, one man is often curiously absent from the discussion. UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagamedov is the most dominant fighter of his generation.
The Russian holds an undefeated 28-0 record. 11 of those were in the UFC and he has the longest active winning streak in the 155 lb division. Khabib plans to retire if he goes 30-0. He will defend his title against interim champion Justin Gaethje in Abu Dhabi but has his eye on another name.
George St. Pierre is the name on Khabib’s lips. ‘The Eagle’ dreams of fighting GSP because he believes it is the fight that will maximize his legacy more than any other. However, the Canadian legend is retired while the UFC is also reluctant to make the match-up.
Khabib’s head coach at AKA told Hablemos MMA that if his student beats GSP, he will be the greatest of all-time. At least that’s what Javier Mendez thinks. We’re not sure about that logic because does that also mean that Matt Serra is the greatest of all-time? When you add in the fact that GSP is 39 and has only fought once in the past five years, it’s a somewhat sketchy argument. But there’s no doubt that it would be a great match-up.
“Yeah, I think so, and so does Khabib,” Mendez said. “The person that beats GSP will be the best of all time … I think so.”
Mendez believes that if Khabib wins two more fights he will sail off into the sunset undefeated. Furthermore, he thinks that the Russian values his legacy over money. That’s why he wants St. Pierre’s name on his CV. Mendez said:
“Yeah, it’s a big possibility. He might do that because all the times that I was with him and his dad, they’ve talked about those things: two more fights, 30-0.
“They want to a legacy fight, then be done and help the other guys that are starting their fighting careers. There’s great fighters, cousins of his who are great fighter like Umar and Usman Nurmagomedov. They’re his blood. They’re going to be great fighters. Islam Makhachev too.”
However, Mendez isn’t writing Khabib off. The champion is still relatively young. At 31, he is in his athletic prime. Furthermore, his oppressive style means that he avoids taking a lot of damage in fights at least. But he does want to honor his recently deceased father’s wishes. Mendez explained:
“He doesn’t want that fight for money and that’s what his father wanted. He told me, ‘That’s what my father wants. What do you think coach?’ And I was like, ‘You know, if that’s what your father wants, we can do it, and if that’s what you want as well.’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah, I want to do it for my father, so I’m like, ‘Let’s do it.’”
“But if he doesn’t want to end his career he can jump back in there. He’s young, he’s only 31, so he still has a few more years of fighting. I’m not going to tell him he has to fight. I’m going to go with what he wants to do.”