Khabib Nurmagomedov retired from MMA last year with his undefeated record of 29-0 still in tact. He has since transitioned to life as a coach and has surprisingly emerged as a candidate for coach of the year in 2021.
As a fighter, Nurmagomedov was dominant. He captured the UFC lightweight title in 2018 and then finished his next three opponents before retiring away from the sport. Nurmagomedov is still just 33 years old and remains in great shape.
While there is no indication 'The Eagle' has any desire to return to the octagon, he likely would still be the favorite booked against any of the UFC's lightweights today.
With that being said, lightweight remains one of the deepest divisions in all of the UFC. Some fighters have stepped into the spotlight following Khabib's retirement whilst other familiar faces have continued to improve.
While Nurmagomedov's return does not seem to be on the cards, here are the five current lightweights who would have the best chance of causing 'Eagle' some problems in the octagon today:
#5. Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Michael Chandler
Instead, Nurmagomedov dominated Gaethje and Chandler has since gone 1-2 in his UFC career. While this might seem an odd choice given Chandler's recent loss to Gaethje, Chandler's skillset may match-up a little better against Khabib than 'The Highlight'.
Chandler has stated he feels he is the superior wrestler to Gaethje. He is also usually the heavier man on fight night, so he may have a little more success preventing the takedown in a fight with Khabib. Additionally, Chandler proved he has knock-out power in his hands in his win over Dan Hooker.
One would still imagine that Khabib would likely still be able to overwhelm Chandler. However if 'Highlight' find a way to keep the fight standing long enough to land a big shot, he might just stand a chance.