Dana White Weighs-in on Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Place in G.O.A.T. Debate
Following Khabib Nurmagomedov's win at UFC 242, Dana White reported where he thinks the undefeated, lightweight champ sits in the greatest of all time discussion.
Khabib Nurmagomedov has unquestionably established himself as one of the best fighters on the planet, if not the best according to some. But, where does the UFC’s lightweight champ sit in the greatest of all time discussion? Well, following Khabib’s win at UFC 242, UFC President Dana White weighed-in on this very question.
Nurmagomedov’s latest win
Nurmagomedov faced Dustin Poirier in the headliner of UFC 242, and as many predicted would be the case, his vaunted wrestling and grappling pedigree delivered a win. Poirier threatened with a nice flurry of punches in round two, and a guillotine choke the following round. But, Khabib controlled much of the fight and tapped Poirier out with a third round, rear-naked-choke.
After the impressive win, which moved Khabib’s record to 28-0, he called for him to be moved into the #1 spot of the UFC’s pound-for-pound ranks.
Is Nurmagomedov the G.O.A.T?
Following Khabib’s victory on Saturday, White was asked to comment on the champ’s performance, and he also shared out where he thinks the star is in the greatest of all time debate (quotes via MMA Junkie):
“He looked unbelievable,” White said. “Incredibly dominant, even though there was some drama in there when he was caught in that guillotine. A lot of people don’t get out of that thing. Khabib is so good he got out.
“Dustin had that thing in deep. Most people would have tapped and went to sleep to that guillotine. Props on him for getting out of that, too. He looked completely dominant tonight.”
“(He’s) pretty special, man,” White said. “I think he’s a couple fights away from potential GOAT status. To go undefeated for this long, for this many fights, especially in a division that’s that stacked, he’s looking down the barrel of a pretty special career.”
Thoughts on White’s comments regarding Khabib’s G.O.A.T. status? Even “The Eagle’s” biggest supporters would likely concede White’s likely right here. There’s no question that going 28-0 in pro-MMA, and 12-0 in the UFC, is ridiculously, ridiculously hard. Especially in the lightweight division as White noted. Further, the fact Khabib hasn’t really been significantly challenged in any of his UFC bouts says a lot about his abilities and dominance.
But, often title reigns play a significant factor in assessing where a fighter’s at in the G.O.A.T. debate. Georges St-Pierre defended the welterweight title 9 times, Anderson Silva defended the middleweight belt 10 times and Demetrious Johnson retained the flyweight belt a record 11 times. Jon Jones had a run where he defended the light-heavyweight belt 8 times. Of course, some look at whether a fighter has won belts in two divisions like Daniel Cormier, Conor McGregor, GSP , Amanda Nunes etc.
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So, if Khabib’s reign as the lightweight champ continues via wins over the likes of Tony Ferguson – who is another lightweight great – then his case as the G.O.A.T will certainly be much stronger.