Khabib Nurmagomedov, arguably the best fighter in the world right now. Currently at 28-0 in his professional mixed-martial-arts career. UFC Lightweight Champion. He’s mauled everyone he’s faced so far, only losing one round in his career to Conor McGregor, which I personally thought Khabib won, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter.
So, who beats ‘The Eagle’? Well, the best way to start off this question is looking at who he’s facing next and who he’s most likely to face afterwards. Khabib faces Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 on October 24th. If there’s one fight Khabib could possibly lose, it’s this one. Gaethje has good takedown defence with his history in wrestling and has a brilliant standup game. Justin also has some of the best leg kicks in the UFC and I’m sure he’ll use those to take away the base of the champion’s strength as we know he’ll plan to takedown and dominate ‘The Highlight’ on the ground. Also, if there’s one man that can somehow drop Khabib due to his power from strikes, It’s Justin.
However, one aspect of this fight that cannot be overlooked is the improvements Khabib has made to his standup game. We saw Khabib outstrike one of the best strikers in UFC history in Conor McGregor and as much as we know he can wrestle, that standup game has come along far and we’ve seen Khabib much more comfortable to duel with his opposition on his feet. So that’s something we’ll have to look out for in his bout against Justin Gaethje.
If Khabib wins against Justin we’ve seen a lot of rumours of one of the GOAT’s returning to fight him. Georges St-Pierre has been rumoured to come back to fight Khabib and it’s been confirmed GSP has been training, so could we see a super-fight happen between two of the greatest of all time. If those two go at it, I think Khabib wins just because of how active Khabib is now compared to a man who hasn’t fought in three years. I also think the weight cut to lightweight will be tough of GSP’s body especially at 39 years old. However, I think a prime GSP would go toe to toe with Khabib and I genuinely couldn’t give an answer to who would win that fight. However, we’ve got to remember this one is just a rumour at this point.
Lastly, we have Tony Ferguson, who should’ve fought Khabib three times by now but injuries and COVID have delayed this fight from occurring. Tony wants to face Conor McGregor to gauge who’s next to fight Khabib and I’m hoping Tony wins because I’d love to finally see that fight. I think Khabib does what he does to everyone else against Ferguson but with Ferguson putting up a better fight than most and comfortably winning the standup portion of the fight. If he’s able to keep Khabib from grappling, I think he has a good chance of challenging him, but this is what we’ve said about Poirier and McGregor and both of those former champions were dominated by Khabib as his ability to control the distance in his fights seems to be unmatched. ‘El Cucuy’ is a mad man if there’s another man apart from Gaethje that can put up a fight to the champ it’s him.
I think if Khabib beats Gaethje in October then he retires undefeated. I think stylistically, Justin has the best chance of beating this monster of a man. It’s rumoured that Khabib may retire at 30-0 if he reaches it, I hope this isn’t true but we’ll see as things get closer to UFC 254!