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Should Khabib Nurmagomedov move up to Welterweight to fight Georges St-Pierre? (Opinion)

UFC 205: Nurmagomedov v Johnson
UFC 205: Nurmagomedov v Johnson
Nickki Ciao
ANALYST
Modified 07 Sep 2020, 07:15 IST
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Khabib Nurmagomedov will go down as probably the greatest mixed martial artist of all time. Nurmagomedov's credibility as a fighter can be measured from his dominant career which boasts of the longest active undefeated streak in the history of MMA.

With notable victories over Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor, Rafael dos Anjos, Darrel Horcher, Al Iaquinta, Edson Barboza, and Gleison Tibau, Khabib is inarguably the greatest Lightweight fighter in the history of UFC.

Khabib Nurmagomedov is set to take on Justin Gaethje in a title unification bout for the UFC Lightweight Champion at UFC 254. Earlier, Khabib revealed that he will rest his gloves with one more fight after the title defense at UFC 254. Nurmagomedov has repeatedly stated that he wants to fight Georges St-Pierre before retirement in a legacy fight for the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.

Many fight fans regard Georges St-Pierre as one of the greatest of all time, and with Khabib right up there in the list, it's a legacy fight between two of the finest to have ever graced the octagon.

Even UFC President Dana White looked in the favour of the idea and stated that he would do absolutely anything if it's possible to make Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Georges St-Pierre happen.

Georges St-Pierre in a recent interview with BT Sports shared his thoughts on going down to Lightweight to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov. St-Pierre made a fair and honest statement and stated that his performance as a fighter will be compromised if he goes down a weight class.

I am 39 years old. I don’t think I can go 155 without my performance being compromised.

Georges St-Pierre competed at the Middleweight division in his last fight. He picked up an impressive submission win over Michael Bisping to win the UFC Middleweight Championship.

In the process, he also became a two-division Champion. St-Pierre is a former Welterweight Champion and ruled the division for almost a decade, with record 16 title defenses to his name. While Khabib has maintained that he wants to fight St-Pierre at the light, the real question is, should Khabib Nurmagomedov jump to Welterweight to take on probably the toughest challenge that he has ever faced to cement his legacy?

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Should Khabib Nurmagomedov jump to 170 to fight Georges St-Pierre?

Khabib Nurmagomedov has maintained that he won't compete against Georges St-Pierre if it's not at the Lightweight division. However, looking at St-Pierre's age and his past track record of competing at the Welterweight, would Khabib Nurmagomedov take the risk of going up a weight class?

It's hard not to agree with Georges St-Pierre. The former dual Champion has always been a solid Welterweight, even going up to Middleweight to fight Michael Bisping at for the Championship.

Khabib Nurmagomedov is a solid Lightweight contender walking at more than 170 pounds without a fight. Khabib is big and has fared exceptionally well after cutting down to Lightweight.

UFC 242 Khabib v Poirier
UFC 242 Khabib v Poirier

While both the fighters have nothing to lose, Khabib Nurmagomedov can also maintain his undefeated streak in the Lightweight division if he can get past Justin Gaethje. Be that as it may, Georges St-Pierre is an even bigger threat for Khabib Nurmagomeodv at 170.

While Khabib Nurmagomedov has competed at the Welterweight division during his early years in MMA, he has never gone up against someone of GSP's stature. It will be interesting to see how much power Khabib can generate at the new weight class. Another interesting thing to note is Khabib's grappling at the new weight class against one of the most dominant wrestlers in the history of MMA.

Both Georges St-Pierre and Khabib Nurmagomedov are efficient strikers who like to mix wrestling in their fight game to dominate their opponents. It won't be wrong to say that Khabib has more to lose than Georges St-Pierre. The former Champion has only competed once inside the octagon in the last seven years and remains out of active competition ever since his victory over Michael Bisping back in November of 2017.

UFC 217: Bisping v St-Pierre
UFC 217: Bisping v St-Pierre

Additionally, Khabib would be putting his undefeated streak at risk at a new weight class against one of the best to ever compete in that division.

In all honesty, both the fighters have nothing left to prove inside the octagon. There's no possible scenario where both the fighters can be at their absolute best in a mutually agreed weight class and no reason why Khabib Nurmagomedov should jump weight class to take on Georges St-Pierre.

Khabib Nurmagomedov has not shut the door on a potential rematch with Conor McGregor. Additionally, there's a possibility that Tony Ferguson could finally get his hands on The Eagle.

The Lightweight Champion stated in a recent interview that he would take on any fighter who can get past Dustin Poirier in a scenario where he doesn't end up fighting Georges St-Pierre. While the match-up between Khabib and St-Pierre is exciting, his long-awaited showdown against Tony Ferguson and a hugely anticipated rematch with Conor McGregor will also grab the same amount of fanfare.

Published 07 Sep 2020, 07:15 IST
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