Khabib Nurmagomedov threw a curveball during his post-fight interview on Saturday night.
After scoring a one-sided unanimous decision over Al Iaquinta to win the UFC lightweight title at UFC 223 and improve to 26-0, one might have expected the Dagestani standout to call out rival Conor McGregor, or maybe even Tony Ferguson.
Instead, Nuramgomedov told the crowd at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center that he’d like to fight the legendary Georges St-Pierre, preferably at Madison Square Garden in November.
St-Pierre, though, doesn’t sound like he’s on board at the moment. The former two-weight-class champion from Montreal told MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani early Sunday morning that there’s too much for the UFC to do with the lightweight division before he even thinks of coming to Nurmagomedov’s turf.
“I feel UFC and Khabib got unfinished business before I try to make a step in here to go for the 155 title,” St-Pierre said.
St-Pierre, a two-time welterweight champion, came out of a four-year hiatus last November and scored an all-time classic of a victory over Michael Bisping to claim the UFC middleweight title at UFC 217. That victory made him the fourth two-class champ in company history.
GSP relinquished the belt soon thereafter, citing a bout of colitis which is going to keep him on the sidelines for the foreseeable future.
The topic was brought up directly to Nurmagomedov at the UFC 223 post-fight press conference, and the new champ clarified that he’d like to see St-Pierre come down to 155 pounds to make the fight happen.
“No, please, not 170, with Georges St-Pierre? No,” Nurmagomedov said when asked what weight class he’d like to meet St-Pierre at. “When I talk with my father one year ago he told me his dream fight is me vs. Georges St-Pierre. I remember when I grow up, like 11, 12 years ago, when I compete in combat sambo, junior combat sambo Dagestan championship, he fight for the UFC title. When I grew up, I watch his fights, all fights with my father, and he greatest athlete who ever compete in UFC. Middleweight, welterweight champion. And I hear about he want to come and fight in 155, take this belt, make history, become UFC three-division champion.
“Why not? Me vs. Georges St-Pierre. If I beat Conor or if I beat Georges St-Pierre, which one is better for my legacy? Maybe for money, it’s Conor, but for legacy it’s Georges St-Pierre. But we don’t know about money too because me vs. Georges St-Pierre is going to be a big fight.”
Still, Nurmagomedov isn’t holding his breath for his dream fight to become a reality.
“Only respect, only respect, but if you guys ask me about is he going to come back or no? I’m going to say no,” Nurmagomedov said. “He already greatest athlete in UFC. Why he come back? For what?”