Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Jon Jones

UFC 262 to crown a new lightweight champ!

After an incredible UFC 261 event, we saw Kamaru Usman arguably seal the title as the pound-for-pound best fighter in the UFC, along with Thug Rose Namajunas being crowned new Strawweight champ, and Valentina Shevchenko defending her belt. It’s now almost time for the next big-hitting showcase with UFC 262 is just around the corner.

17,000 fans are preparing to gather in the Toyota Center in Houston on Saturday, May 15th for what will be an action-packed event. This night will see a number of hotly contested fights decided, with the likes of Leon Edwards vs. Nate Diaz and Tony Ferguson vs. Beneil Dariush. The main event of the evening though will be for the UFC lightweight title fought between the number 3 ranked lightweight Charles Oliveira and the number 4 ranked Michael Chandler. Oliveira has been tipped as the favorite in UFC betting odds but this night is all but certain about what’s going to happen with many fans hoping to make some cash from this exciting fight night set to begin.

This will be the first time since April 2018 that the UFC Lightweight belt will be wrapped around the waist of someone other than Khabib Nurmagamedov. After Khabib announced his retirement, he has left the door open to the rest of the division to define the next era of the lightweight division.

Who is the GOAT?

With UFC 262 signifying a new era for the lightweight division and the end of a dominant reign for Khabib Nurmagamedov. This dominance has left open the widely debated question of who is the UFC’s GOAT. Jon Jones has long been considered by many to be the greatest to ever step into the octagon, but the conclusion of Khabib’s career has led to deserved calls that Khabib is in fact the GOAT. While for the moment it is still contested, Jones has signaled his intentions to fight the powerhouse Francis Ngannou for the heavyweight title which could confirm his reputation as the greatest should he be victorious.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Khabib’s record speaks for itself. He was the longest-reigning UFC lightweight champion in history holding it from April 2018 to March 2021 upon his retirement. He finished with an undefeated record of 29 wins and 0 losses (8 by TKO and 11 by submission). His record came as a result of his mastery in the arts of grappling, especially wrestling and sambo. The style used by Khabib was dubbed as ‘mauling’ as he would become known for his intense pressure forcing his opponents against the cage, trapping and exhausting his opponents into giving up or exposing them into an onslaught of ground and pound.

Definitely, his biggest fight was against the infamous Conor McGregor which to this day is the biggest selling PPV fight in the history of the UFC. The fan-favorite trash-talking Irishman was ultimately no match for the world-class mauling of Khabib. With a lot of controversy in the build-up and after the fight, it is the fight that he will be most remembered for. Victories against Iaquinta, Horcher, Poirier, and Gaethje in his final bout are some of his other notable victories as he smashed through the division.

There’s no disputing the reputation of Khabib, but how does he compare to the genius of Jon Jones? Jones is a two-time light heavyweight champion with an unbelievable record that sees him hold the title of most title defenses in the division, along with most wins, most submissions, and the longest win-streak. His only defeat came via disqualification against Matt Hamill but this result is disputed. The question of who is the GOAT may not have been in question had Jones’ career not been impacted by several controversies. Nevertheless, as things stand, Jones is the current pound-for-pound fighter and has supposedly set his sights on moving up a weight class to compete for the heavyweight belt.

In terms of fighting style, Jones appears to have it all, even a little bit extra. He is considered to be one of the most innovative and creative mixed martial artists to compete in the octagon. His mix of both dynamic kicking, elbows, knees, and punching, along with a skill level to be feared in the clinch, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu. His fighting intelligence overall is on a level that many simply can’t keep up with.

Jon Jones has had to overcome fierce competition to retain his belt over the years. His first title fight saw him become the youngest ever UFC champion at just 23 years old against Andre Gusmao which kick-started his impressive career. Big wins against Maurício ‘Shogun’ Rua, Rampage Jackson, Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen, and in what was one of the greatest title fights of all time, Alexander Gustafsson.

The UFC has many legends with impressive records, big fan appeal, and scary martial arts skill sets. The likes of Conor McGregor, Anderson Silva, Chuck Liddell, Daniel Cormier, Michael Bisping, and Demetrious Johnson are some of the many legends to grace the UFC no doubt. But the title of the GOAT is a different story that can only go to one fighter. That decision may still not be decided in the eyes of many with Khabib and Jones leading the line of contenders, but not without forgetting George St. Pierre who is also a serious contender for that crown. Some of the current fighters such as Kamaru Usman are putting themselves forward for future considerations too. Maybe we will have our answer after seeing what Jones does next. Until then, we’ll just have to wait and see.

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