After defeating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in stunning fashion on Saturday, Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his retirement before asking for the #1 spot in the UFC pound-for-pound rankings.
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Many already considered Nurmagomedov as the pound-for-pound best in the sport, but another dominant win likely earned him a spot at the top of the official rankings.
But former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones took offense to Nurmagomedov’s request and explained all of the reasons why on Twitter. Jones tweeted: “I’ve won 15 world titles, he just won his 4th. The fact that this is even a conversation is mind blowing to me.”
So, what do we think about it all? Is Khabib Nurmagomedov really the pound-for-pound best fighter in the UFC? Patrick Auger and Matthew Wells definitely think so.
Wells says Jones may be a little confused. He explains that the pound-for-pound rankings is more fluid than others in the UFC and that there’s an element of “what have you done for me lately?” It’s not an all-time ranking.
Wells says that Nurmagomedov is “hands-down” the more dominant fighter lately. He’s been making it look easy against top-quality opponents whereas Jones arguably lost his last fight against Dominick Reyes and has been going to decisions. It’s a clear answer for Wells.
Auger agrees and states: “I don’t know how you can argue with Khabib as the number one.” Auger believes that Jones actually lost his last TWO fights. He believes the Reyes fight was a clear 48-47 in favor of Reyes and that Jones possibly lost to Thiago Santos, as well.
But where does Khabib Nurmagomedov fit in the “Greatest of All-Time” (or GOAT) conversation?
Wells says that Nurmagomedov is definitely in there among the likes of Jon Jones, Georges St-Pierre, Fedor Emelianenko, and others, but he feels like Jones is actually the GOAT because of his long reign and number of title defenses. Wells admits that it’s a close argument, though, and he’s not going to aggressively defend his position — after all, it’s subjective.
Auger agrees with Wells’ position and explains that Nurmagomedov doesn’t have as many high-quality wins as Jones. If there is one thing that Nurmagomedov lacks, it’s that same long duration of greatness that Jones, GSP, Demetrious Johnson, and others have enjoyed.
What do you think? Does Khabib Nurmagomedov deserve the top spot in the UFC pound-for-pound rankings? And what about the GOAT conversation? Does he belong near the top there as well?
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Jake Nichols is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief. Previously, he was the MMA Editor at RealSport.