The fight had been rumored multiple times over the years, but it was never officially booked by the UFC. Now both fighters are retired, and the fans might never get to see it. However, many people believe that if someone could have found an answer to the puzzle that was Khabib Nurmagomedov, it would have been Georges St-Pierre.
Appearing on Lex Fridman Podcast, Georges St-Pierre revealed why he had no reason to fear Khabib Nurmagomedov's takedown and wrestling skills, something that has proved to be lethal for every single opponent the Dagestani fighter has gone up against inside the octagon.
Georges St-Pierre stressed the importance of feints and keeping the fight in the center of the octagon. He also talked about landing takedowns of his own.
"Khabib is very good against the fence. I would have to establish a gameplan. But I think what I needed to do was take the center of the octagon right away, use a lot of fakes and feints, keep the fight all the way out or all the way in. And when I say all the way in, is when he closes the gap, use my proactive and reactive takedown, perhaps my superior explosivity to put him down. I like to use those proactive and reactive takedown, because for me, it's more economical."
According to Georges St-Pierre, his karate skills fuel the efficacy of his own takedowns, which is why they would have proved effective even against someone as well-trained in wrestling as Khabib Nurmagomedov.
"Khabib is a much more trained wrestler than me... what makes my takedowns very efficient is my karate, not my wrestling. I am very good at timing my opponent and getting in with my explosivity. So, if you watch my takedown, it does not demand a lot of work... I call it proactive takedown when I am faking it, so I instigate the takedown by a fake, then I take him down. And reactive is when I am baiting him to throw something, and then I take him down."
Why did the Georges St-Pierre vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov fight never happen?
Both Khabib Nurmagomedov and Georges St-Pierre wanted the fight to happen. But neither of them were ready to move up or move down to the other's weight class, and UFC president Dana White is not a big fan of catchweight fights, especially for such a high-profile matchup. GSP reiterated the obstacles that stood before the fight when both men wanted it to happen, stating that the UFC had different plans for 'The Eagle'.
"That fight... I wanted to happen, Khabib wanted to happen. But UFC did not want to happen. We tried to make it about three years ago when I retired... no, two years ago, but it never came to fruition. The UFC were clear. They said they have other plans for Khabib. And it makes, from a business standpoint because they wanna keep the ball rolling," GSP said in the podcast.
Georges St-Pierre revealed at the UFC 261 Weigh-In Show that he was relieved when Khabib Nurmagomedov retired instead of calling him out after the fight with Justin Gaethje. However, he also believes that if he indeed had to fight 'The Eagle', it would have been worth the risk because "nobody has ever been able to solve him."