Khabib Nurmagomedov is currently ranked #2 in the UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings, but following his latest win on Saturday, the lightweight champ believes he should be moved to the top spot.
Nurmagomedov’s win at UFC 242
Nurmagomedov took on Dustin Poirier yesterday, and once again, his wrestling and top game ruled the day. Poirier threatened in round two with a flurry of punches, and had a tight guillotine choke attempt in round three. But, ultimately Nurmagomedov defended the lightweight crown, by tapping Poirier out with a third-round, rear-naked-choke.
The champ’s post-fight call for “respect”
“You know what’s interesting in this sport, even if you’re 28-0, 12-0 in the UFC, you’re one of the biggest stars, you smash everybody, people are going to talk about you ‘have to fight him, you have to fight with him, you have to fight with him’ — give me just respect,” Nurmagomedov said.
“Put me on No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter next week because I think I deserve this. Because I dominate with all my opponents. I’m undefeated. I think I deserve some respect.”
How about that? Now, should Nurmagomedov replace Jon Jones in that the P4P top spot? It’s an interesting question.
Jones’ boosters would likely argue that he’s defeated more decorated fighters and legends during his run. After all, he’s defeated all-star names like “Shogun” Rua, Lyoto Machida, “Rampage” Jackson, Alexander Gustafsson, Ryan Bader and Daniel Cormier. Khabib has defeated former champs like Rafael dos Anjos, Conor McGregor and now Poirier, but the cumulative accomplishments of the opponents he’s faced, likely don’t match the opponents of Jones’.
Jones does have a loss on his record, unlike Khabib, but it came via disqualification for illegal strikes (against Matt Hamill) back in 2009. He’s also one of the most dynamic and well-rounded fighters the game has ever seen.
But, Khabib supporters might raise Jones’ USADA flags, while making the argument the lightweight champ should be #1. While Nurmagomedov’s skills may not be as comprehensive as Jones’, due to his wrestling and top-game, no one has really offered much of a challenge to him. Jones, on the other hand, was pushed by Gustafsson in their first meeting, and he’s coming off a split decision win over Thiago Santos (who, it should be remembered, trashed his knees early on into the fight).
One thing is certain: if Nurmagomedov ends up facing Tony Ferguson, and if he defeats “El Cucuy”, his case for the #1, P4P spot will be that much stronger.