In an interview with James Lynch, former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson was asked where he rates retired MMA icon Khabib Nurmagomedov among the greatest of all time. Demetrious Johnson responded by stating:
“He’s one of the best to ever do it, definitely at lightweight. You know, the only thing I wish I would’ve seen from him is just more activity as a champion. You know, he cleaned out the divisions. But I think as far as lightweight champions ever go, he’s one of the best. He’s the only guy who’s ever retired 29-0. Yeah, I mean, he was very, very skillful; the way he went about his fights in his competition.”
In regards to whether title defenses are a factor in the MMA GOAT debate, ‘Mighty Mouse’ explained:
“Yeah, I would say so. I mean, everybody has their own kind of criteria for greatest of all time, right? And for me, I would like to see, you know, he defended his belt once or twice, I think, right?” DJ added, “I’ll say he’s one of the greatest of all time to do mixed martial arts. There’s not a whole lot of guys who’ve fought every type of discipline. When he fought Edson Barboza, one of the best on the feet, took him down. When he fought Justin Gaethje, who’s good on his feet, took him down. When he’s fought guys who were great on the ground, he beat them up, too. So, and he’s been in the game for a very, very long time.”
‘Might Mouse’ highlighted that he understands why Khabib Nurmagomedov retired while still at the top. Johnson recalled how the former UFC lightweight champion referred to fighting as a prison. He insinuated that the pressure of being a fighter eventually led to ‘The Eagle’ retiring and pursuing other goals.
Presently, Demetrious Johnson is set to face Rodtang Jitmuangnon in a special rules fight at One Championship’s 10th anniversary show – ONE: X on December 5.
Watch Demetrious Johnson’s statements regarding Khabib Nurmagomedov in the video below:
Khabib Nurmagomedov’s close friend Islam Makhachev is on the cusp of a UFC lightweight title shot
Reigning UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira is scheduled to defend his title against Dustin Poirier at UFC 269 on December 11. The winner of this fight is likely to defend their title against either Justin Gaethje or Islam Makhachev in 2022.
Many in the MMA community believe that Khabib Nurmagomedov’s childhood friend and longtime training partner, Islam Makhachev, will eventually capture the lightweight belt. The Dagestani fighter is being touted by many as the next dominant UFC lightweight champion.
Meanwhile, Khabib Nurmagomedov is scaling great heights of success even after retirement. ‘The Eagle’ is an entrepreneur and also helps his teammates as a part-time coach.
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