Khabib Nurmagomedov has laid out his ideal plan for the coming years before eventually hanging up his gloves and retiring from mixed martial arts.
For years, Khabib was seen by many as the uncrowned champion of the lightweight division, a looming shadow within the top-10 whose destructive rise into the rankings had only been hindered by a string of injuries that had given rise to widespread doubts about his ability to make a name for himself.
Now, Nurmagomedov has well and truly found his momentum – fighting three times in the last 13 months – beating Edson Barboza, Al Iaquinta, and Conor McGregor decisively.
In a recent interview with Submission Radio, the Russian explained his ideal plan for his retirement – an inevitability he has been open about for quite some time now.
“Georges St. Pierre is a very big name. I like, an opponent who is a very tough opponent and he’s a little bit bigger than me. If we’re gonna fight, we have to fight at 155, because 170 is his weight and he’s gonna be a little bit bigger than me. I don’t know about his future, about his plans, but I respect him.
“In my opinion, he’s the greatest athlete who ever competed in the UFC, because he’s a champion inside the cage and outside the cage too. We’ll see.
“I don’t know right now. Why not maybe St. Pierre, Ferguson and Mayweather? It will be these three guys and we can retire and become the greatest athlete of all time.” (via MMAFighting)
As for a showdown against his UFC 229 opponent Conor McGregor, Khabib called into question whether the Irishman even deserves another shot at his belt – citing his domination of him last October as a good reason to close the book on their rivalry.
“If you guys ask me, of course he not deserve a title shot rematch, Conor, because he lose, he tapped. It wasn’t a close fight. I dominated him everywhere in every aspect and I beat him. Like a told, I smashed him. Why we need a rematch?”
He also noted that he expects the sentence he receives for his post-fight antics at UFC 229 to be between 9-12 months.
No matter what happens next, it has become abundantly clear that the Dagestani-native’s star-power has gone through the roof on a global level. Whether that translates into PPV buys in the US, though, remains to be seen.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena