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Georges St-Pierre calls Khabib Nurmagomedov ideal legacy fight: ‘He’s the best fighter in the world’

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Georges St-Pierre
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Georges St-Pierre is standing firm in his stance that should he ever fight again, it will only be against the man he considers to be the best of the best.

Speaking to TSN, St-Pierre was asked for an update on a potential comeback, a topic that has persisted since he announced his retirement in February. The 38-year-old last fought at UFC 217 in November 2017, where he defeated Michael Bisping by third-round submission to capture the middleweight championship (a title he would later voluntarily relinquish).

It’s no secret that “GSP” and current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov have long been interested in a fight with one another and despite UFC president Dana White having his reasons for not wanting to book that matchup, it’s the only challenge St-Pierre is currently considering given all that he’s already accomplished in MMA.

“A lot of people are attention seekers, they retire to come back and retire to come back,” St-Pierre said. “I’m not that type of guy. We tried to make that fight with Khabib and the UFC told us they had other plans. Khabib wanted the fight, I wanted the fight, but unfortunately it did not happen. That’s the reason why I retired.

“For me, it’s a lot more to lose than to win now and the most important thing for me is my health. I’m no longer, right now as I’m talking, pursuing my goal, which back in the day was to be the best fighter in the world. It was for many years and now it’s not my number one priority anymore.”

When a hypothetical pay day of $50 million was proposed, St-Pierre laughed and changed his tune, greatly expanding his list of potential opponents. However, he maintained that Nurmagomedov is the only realistic option due to the Russian star’s sterling 27-0 record.

“If I have to pick whoever I want, I’ll pick the easiest fight possible and I’ll run away with the $50 million,” St-Pierre joked.

“If I want the legacy fight, Khabib is the man to beat right now. He’s the best fighter in the world right now to me. Undefeated and he hasn’t shown any kind of weakness. Nobody has ever come close to solving the puzzle, so that’s why it was very interesting for me.”

St-Pierre ended his career on a lengthy unbeaten streak of his own, winning 13 straight dating back to August 2007. Like Nurmagomedov, “GSP” proved to be a nearly impossible puzzle to solve in his prime, with much of that success due to his dominant wrestling.

In a hypothetical matchup, St-Pierre wouldn’t want to mix it up with Nurmagomedov for too long in close, but he likes his chances if he’s the one establishing the distance.

“I think there’s different areas of the fight that I’m better than him,” St-Pierre said when asked point blank if he would beat Nurmagomedov. “Even though he’s better than me in some stuff, I’m quicker in and out and controlling the distance and getting inside for the takedown faster in the open stance. He’s better near the fence, I’m better in the open.

“If I keep that fight in the open, I win.”

But in the end, St-Pierre understands that a matchup with Nurmagomedov would be more for his benefit than the UFC’s, especially if he managed to knock off one of the promotion’s top stars and then resumed his retirement.

“Maybe they don’t want me to beat him because if I leave after that, I ruin their whole investment,” St-Pierre said.