Chael Sonnen believes that the MMA community are omitting several key points from their analysis of the UFC 242 headliner between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirier.
Nurmagomedov is a massive global superstar at this point.
To those who don’t believe that to be the case, I would simply urge you to look at his social media metrics, his post-UFC 229 world-tour, and simply the level of buzz that is generated every time he opens his mouth these days.
Signing him for a return to the octagon in Abu Dhabi was a genius move from the UFC brass – one that could well allow him to truly blossom as a commodity but in the eyes of the former three-time UFC title-challenger Sonnen, we should, at the very least be questioning how all of this new attention will affect him.
Speaking during a recent discussion alongside Mike Soccio on his popular YouTube channel, Sonnen questioned why the fans haven’t been speaking about Nurmagomedov’s recent explosion in fame and how, when coupled with his year off, it could well make him a different fighter than the man we last saw in action.
“Every time that someone is in Khabib’s spot – he has been out for a while. Now for Khabib, it is because of a suspension, for other guys it has been for an injury or a contract dispute but that always becomes a talking point.
“How’s he going to look? He’s been out and the other guy [Poirier] has been busy. Ring-rust is a thing.
“For some reason, Khabib has penetrated the hearts and minds of the fans to such an extent that that dialogue is not even coming up.
“Look at the Mike Tysons of the world, Anderson Silva comes to mind, the night Georges St-Pierre went down. Nobody’s bulletproof. Isn’t this a real thing we should at least be talking about?
“Khabib has been out while Dustin Poirier has been winning world titles.”
Although still back Nurmagomedov to take home the title on the night, Chael also interestingly brought up the champ’s somewhat patchy history with weight-cutting and how on this massive night, it’s an issue that we should at least we aware of moving forward.
“Khabib historically has had many problems with making weight. Four times. Having been out, it would seem as though beating the scale – with his history – is a really real concern.
Watch Chael and Mike Soccio’s full thoughts on the UFC 242 main-event below: