For the past several years, UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and his team have been stating their desire to fight UFC Hall of Famer Georges St-Pierre. However, things changed last year when Khabib’s father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, passed away due to COVID-19. Khabib fought one time after his father’s passing, a successful title defense against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, and then announced his retirement right there in the cage. It was a decision that caught everyone off guard, including St-Pierre, who was doing French-language commentary for the event.
“I was in the same boat as everybody,” St-Pierre told Michael Bisping on his Believe You Me podcast. “I thought maybe he would have called me out to maybe pressure the UFC to organize the fight.”
Khabib’s decision was perhaps more shocking than it should have been because in the lead up to UFC 254, Khabib’s team gave little indication of his intention to retire, talking about potential next fights. In fact, heading into UFC 254 the general assumption seemed to be that Khabib would defend his title against Gaethje and then look to set up a retirement fight against St-Pierre next, to hopefully leave the sport at 30-0 as tribute to his father’s dreams for him. But even if Khabib hadn’t retired, St-Pierre says there was no guarantee the fight would have happened anyway.
“It doesn’t mean I would have accepted,” St-Pierre said. “Everybody says, ‘Oh, when is it going to happen?’ I never said I wanted to do it. It depends (on) the conditions too. I could think about it seriously if the conditions are right in terms of the weight class and all that, but there’s no way I’m gonna go down to 155 now. I’m 39 years old and this is out of the window...
“We’re both about the same size. I’m not gonna lie. I wake up in the morning and I’m about 183 pounds. I’m sure he’s about the same weight as me if not probably bigger. So I think the weight class — it’s like a novelty fight, a superfight — you need to stipulate the rule maybe no weight class or maybe (that) you cannot be more than three percent different in terms of weight. I don’t know but there’s ways to do it. You don’t have to cut weight and damage yourself to do something like that.”
Historically, Khabib has shown little interest in competing outside of his weight division, however, the point is moot now as even UFC President Dana White has finally had to admit that Khabib’s retirement appears to be genuine. That means that fans can only imagine what a superfight between the two would look like, but St-Pierre has his thoughts on how he would have approached the contest.
“If in a hypothetical world this fight would happen, I think I would need to use all my tools,” St-Pierre explained. “I’m good at what I do and it’s not because I’m fighting Khabib that I’m gonna change my way of fighting. The way I fight, that’s how I’ve been successful all of my career. I think the mistake that a lot of guys are doing when they fight Khabib is that they change the way they’re fighting because Khabib is very known to be probably the best wrestler in the sport. (But) I’m good with the takedown, to mix it up. It’s not because I’m fighting Khabib that I’m not gonna mix it up with him. If I have a chance to put him down, I’m gonna try to put him down. I believe in my chance to put him down and I’m confident in myself. I think confidence is a very important piece of the puzzle in MMA to be successful and I believe a lot of guys when they fight a legend fighter status, part of that confidence and their skill goes out the window. That’s one of the mistakes I would not do because I know Khabib would not do it against myself.”
Unfortunately, the end of the Khabib-GSP superfight signals not only Khabib’s retirement, but likely also the last hope for one more St-Pierre fight. St-Pierre retired in 2019 after talks for a Khabib fight were summarily rebuffed by the UFC but has since lingered with the possibility of a return specifically for that fight. Now that Khabib has walked away, St-Pierre admits he’s not sure what it would be, but it would take something special to bring him back.
“If the UFC would want me back, it’s not me that would try to go and beg for a fight. ‘Hey please, can I come back?’ They’re gonna lowball the sh*t out of me!” St-Pierre said. “It would be the most stupid thing I could do. If they have an offer to make to me, an offer I cannot refuse, Dana knows where to reach me.”
Drawing board. Conor McGregor plans to ‘regroup,’ interested in Dustin Poirier and Nate Diaz trilogy bouts.
Let it go. Dana White: If Khabib Nurmagomedov doesn’t want to defend title, ‘I won’t push it anymore’.
Fanciful. Michael Chandler hopes Khabib Nurmagomedov returns for one last fight so ‘he becomes 29 and Chandler’.
Sad. B.J. Penn arrested, released on suspicion of DUI, video shows belligerent encounter.
Apology. ESPN apologizes for technical issues that plagued UFC 257 pay-per-view.
Top ground and pound in Bellator.
Marc Goddard talks about good stoppages vs. bad stoppages.
Michael Chandler thinks he’s up next.
The Co-Main Event. Discussing the fallout from UFC 257.
UFC Unfiltered. Interviews with Gilbert Burns and Michael Chiesa.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Nate has some thoughts.
U and Dp just got choked on ur face the other day by a guy that ran off and didn’t want none especially wit me , how u gonna fight for a title?— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) January 25, 2021
I been here 14 years and no one can do me like that ever in life ..
lol lightweight division
Crown me Now!!— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) January 25, 2021
Let's clash for this crown. Winner takes all, and becomes the King of Lightweight division https://t.co/fGJd6OlvIX— Charles Oliveira (@CharlesDoBronxs) January 26, 2021
He’s going to rebuild . . .
Ready to do it.
Balding https://t.co/fo0jkRqXNk— Ricky Simón (@RickySimonUFC) January 26, 2021
Listen I’m gonna shave your head while you’re sleeping... feb 13th Simon says bald is beautiful— Brian BOOM Kelleher (@brianboom135) January 26, 2021
Thanks for clarifying.
I’ve taken a poireir leg kick before and that does not feel good— Jarred Brooks (@The_monkeygod) January 25, 2021
Robert Whittaker (22-5) vs. Paulo Costa (13-1); UFC Fight Night, Apr. 17.
Remember when Nate fought for the lightweight title? Khabib fighting him would be . . . not good for Nate.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
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