September 10, 2019

UFC 242: Khabib Nurmagomedov Isn't Far From GOAT Discussions

By Adam Martin

After defeating Dustin Poirier at UFC 242, Khabib Nurmagomedov improved his MMA record to 28-0, including a perfect 12-0 record inside the Octagon. With this latest vicious submission win, the UFC Lightweight Champion continued a streak that began back in 2008, and every time he steps into the Octagon to defend his belt, we expect something special from him. At this point, Nurmagomedov isn't far away from being included in the GOAT conversation. He's that good.

Discussions about the Greatest Of All Time in MMA are incredibly subjective, as the term is difficult to define. But there are three things that seem to be important to anyone who is doing a GOAT list. One is the number of quality wins. You have to win fights, and you have to beat quality opposition. Two is longevity. It's important to sustain a high level of fighting for a long time. And three is impact of the fighter on the sport. The top candidates for GOAT have all of these.


Jon Jones is regarded by many as being the greatest ever, as he is essentially undefeated while fighting elite competition in the UFC for over a decade. Georges St-Pierre is up there as well, having fought at an elite level for 15 years in two weight classes. Anderson Silva, up until his recent losing streak, was in the same position as GSP. Then there's Demetrious Johnson, who was arguably the most dominant MMA fighter this decade. And of course there's Fedor Emelianenko, who was the top fighter of the early 2000s. Recently, on the women's side, Amanda Nunes added her name to the discussion.

So how does Nurmagomedov measure up? He has the wins. With 28 victories in a row, it's hard to disagree with that. Those wins have also been high quality, with victories over the likes of Poirier, Conor McGregor, Edson Barboza, Rafael dos Anjos, and Al Iaquinta. He has the longevity, having gone undefeated for 11 years, including nine years of being unbeaten in the UFC. And he has changed the global footprint of the sport around the world. Nurmagomedov has all the qualities that the GOAT should have.


Ultimately, the title of GOAT is one that's difficult for even legends to attain. There are so many fighters who could lay claim to the throne, yet we can only consider one the true GOAT. It's likely that Nurmagomedov isn't quite regarded at the same level as the other names mentioned, but he's not that far back from them. He's only 30 and in the prime of his career. If he can keep winning fights the way he did at UFC 242, there's no reason he can't climb his way to the top of the list. Nurmagomedov is a special fighter, and history is made every time he steps into the Octagon. When it's all said and done, he might just end up being the best who ever did it. But as of now, he may just have to settle for being in the conversation.


UFC 242
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Dustin Poirier (UFC Lightweight Championship): Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Dustin Poirier via submission submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:06 of Round 3.

UFC 242: Khabib vs. Poirier took place September 7, 2019 at The Arena in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.

Click HERE for more UFC 242 Post-Fight Analysis


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