Khabib Nurmagomedov: 5 biggest threats to UFC lightweight champ (VIDEO)
In the world of mixed martial arts, few fighters are currently as dominant as Khabib Nurmagomedov. Well, scratch that, few fighters in the history of the sport have EVER been as dominant as the 28-0 Dagestani destroyer.
The Sambo master has only lost one round throughout his entire 12-fight UFC tenure. That totals out to 'The Eagle' soaring high in 30 out of 31 rounds. And that's not to mention the fact that many of those have been awarded 10-8 scores from the judges.
His smothering pressure and vicious ground and pound have led him all the way to a world title as he currently holds the UFC lightweight crown and is one of Russia's biggest superstars.Also on rt.com Khabib manager gives update on plans for UFC lightweight champ’s octagon return
Whether it's a bear or a human, it will take a special individual to take out one of MMA's best. But to keep things realistic, we aren't going to include any top welterweight fighters as Nurmagomedov has shared his lack of interest in moving up in weight.
So without further ado, these are the top five biggest threats to Khabib Nurmagomedov.
#5 GREGOR GILLESPIE
Starting things off on this list is everyone's favorite fisherman aside from Kyoji Horiguchi, Gregor Gillespie.
Like Nurmagomedov, the man known as 'The Gift' has been flawless throughout his career. And with his perfect 13-0 record, he's been dispatching his opponents in pretty similar fashion to the current champion.
Gillespie is a four-time NCAA Division 1 All-American wrestler and holds the record for most wins in his school of Edinboro University's history with 152. He also holds the record for most wins as a freshman with 40. Accompany that with a national championship in 2007 and Gillespie has plenty of impressive accolades from his time as a wrestler.
Those skills have reflected inside the Octagon as he's now 6-0 in the UFC having finished all but one of his opponents. As fantastic a grappler as he's proven to be, Gillespie has also shown that he has crisp boxing but can also brawl if necessary.
In total, the Webster, New York native only has two decision wins with six knockouts and five submissions. His strengths are evident but he's well-rounded enough to hang with anyone.
Gillespie has yet to face any top-ranked opponents but once he does, we'll get a better glimpse at how ready he is to try and snatch 'The Eagle's' 0 away from him.
#4 CHARLES OLIVEIRA
Charles Oliveira has been in the UFC for almost 10 years now, which is crazy to think about.
Currently riding a very impressive five-fight winning streak in his return to the 155-pound weight class, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt has broken and now begun extending the UFC record for most submission victories. That record was formerly held by the legendary Royce Gracie.
Nurmagomedov has dealt with BJJ black belts before such as Rafael Dos Anjos, but when it comes to attacking and going for submissions, few do so the way that Oliveira does.
His variety in submission attack is what makes him so dangerous. We're talking about a guy who has successfully executed a calf-slicer to get a win. Plus the numerous guillotines and anaconda chokes, this isn't a guy you want to test your submission defense against.
#3 TONY FERGUSON
The best fight that has yet to happen! Khabib vs Ferguson. We'll see if the fifth time ends up being the charm.
Tony Ferguson has been on an equally impressive run as Nurmagomedov in the lightweight division and it's seriously mind-blowing to see such streaks happening during the same time period.
'El Cucuy' is one of the most unorthodox fighters that the sport has ever seen and his pace is virtually unmatched. Ferguson is incredibly dangerous and well-rounded in all areas of the fight... which is what makes him such a threat for Nurmagomedov.
Ferguson keeps coming at his opponents with any strike he can think of until they've been battered and broken. But if the opportunity presents itself, he can snatch up a limb or sink in a choke.
Many seem to see Ferguson as the last possible threat to Nurmagomedov, and for good reason. Hopefully, we'll be getting to see them finally compete for their next times out.
#2 JUSTIN GAETHJE
The human highlight reel has been reborn, as evidenced by his last three fights.
Right up until he was clocked by Dustin Poirier to suffer his second consecutive loss in his career, Gaethje was madness personified. And he still is to a degree.
Arguably the best leg kicker in the game right now, Gaethje hits as hard as anyone at lightweight and forces his opponents to feel the pressure he brings. However, as mentioned, in his more reserved efforts in his last three fights, he's remained dangerous while still fighting to his strengths.
Gaethje's secret weapon is his excellent wrestling background as he, like Gillespie, is also an NCAA Division 1 All-American. The man just prefers to put on a show and let his fists do the talking.
In a fight with Nurmagomedov, his rarely seen wrestling chops would absolutely be put to the limit.
#1 GEORGES ST-PIERRE
Okay, we know what you're thinking. This one might be a little bit of cheating but this is a fight that Nurmagomedov and his management seem to want more than any other.
"GSP" is arguably the greatest fighter of all-time. His sensational blend of boxing and wrestling was and still has yet to be matched. Having the size advantage over Khabib with the skills and fight IQ he possesses instantly makes this one of the most interesting match-ups in MMA history.
In his 28-fight career, St-Pierre has outwrestled his opponents collectively 102 takedowns to just 10. As incredible of a stat as that is, Nurmagomedov may very well have it surpassed as in the UFC alone he has scored 59 takedowns to one of his 12 opponents.
Who knows if St-Pierre will end up coming out of retirement to try and make this fight happen. But if he does, it wouldn't be crazy to see the 37-year old Canadian claim yet another divisional title. He did it the last time we saw him after all...
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