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6 Oct, 2021 13:57

‘He took himself out of it’: Ex-champ claims UFC superstar Nurmagomedov’s record ‘doesn’t stack up’ against top trio of MMA greats

‘He took himself out of it’: Ex-champ claims UFC superstar Nurmagomedov’s record ‘doesn’t stack up’ against top trio of MMA greats

Khabib Nurmagomedov's early retirement from MMA means he cannot be considered among the likes of legends Georges St-Pierre, Jon Jones or Anderson Silva, a former UFC champion has insisted.

Keeping a promise to his mother, the Russian surprisingly walked away from the sport in October 2020 following the death of his father and trainer, Abdulmanap, from Covid-related complications earlier that year.

After beating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, Nurmagomedov bowed out with a 29-0 record, leading to some high-profile analysts, including two-weight champion and close friend Daniel Cormier, quick to dub him the greatest fighter of all time.

Others in the conversation, such as long-time champion Jones, took umbrage at those statements, pointing to the relatively small number of title defenses Nurmagomedov made compared to fighters who spent longer in the sport.

Nearly a year since the Dagestani stepped aside, British former middleweight champion and prominent UFC pundit Michael Bisping has also waded into the debate.

"Yeah, he took himself out of it," Bisping told The Pain Game"And if you look, yeah, he didn't fight the best until the end of his career. 

"When you compare that with GSP [St-Pierre] or Jones or Anderson, their run against world-class competition was far longer. 

"But for Khabib, I know it was because of his father passing away, and he made a promise to his mother.

"So it's different circumstances. But for those reasons, I think when you look at the resumes, even though he was undefeated, the resumes don't really stack up." 

Bisping is the latest high-profile within the sport to question Nurmagomedov's record, with former rival Tony Ferguson calling half of his professional opponents "fatheads" earlier this year.

Chief antagonist Conor McGregor was even more scathing, ranting that Nurmagomedov "sh*t his jocks, became fat and is roiding off" and arguing that he had "done nothing in the sport."

"His father had the shows set up and he was fighting guys with two wins and eight losses," added the man who lost to Nurmagomedov.

"That’s his record up until he’s 20-0. He has three fights on the trot in the UFC that done him well, and then before that, it’s nothing."

Nurmagomedov's manager, Ali Abdelaziz who also represents welterweight ruler Kamara Usman, has unsurprisingly offered his two cents on Bisping's remarks.

"Bisping, brother," the Egyptian told him on Twitter, making what appeared to be a dig at the murky pasts of Jones and Silva for a start – although St-Pierre famously never failed a drugs test.

"You know that my whole team [and] myself have [a] tremendous amount of respect [for] you.

"But no cheaters should be in in a GOAT, conversation especially in front [of Khabib].

"Never been dropped, cut, hurt, barely lost a round. Name me someone like him."

Also on rt.com ‘He still dropped you’: Conor McGregor invites mockery with claim that ‘teddy bear’ Khabib has ‘zero power’

Rather than enter a war of words, Bisping replied by saying: "Cannot argue with anything you said there."

The love-in continued by Abdelaziz responding: "Nothing but respect to you, Legend."

Yet the debate is likely to rage until Khabib laces up his gloves again and wins another title or racks up more defenses of his vacated title.

Also on rt.com ‘Savagery’: Khabib issues ice-cold putdown of Tony Ferguson in hilarious Twitter exchange