Khabib Nurmagomedov celebrated in all 29 professional MMA fights he did. Of those, he won in 13 as a UFC fighter, including winning the belt and three successful defenses of the same. While there are some fighters left he hasn’t met, as their real rise has only come in recent months or they would stumble a step to the top, it can be said that Nurmagomedov cleared the UFC lightweight category.
But is that really so, or has he perhaps remained indebted? A recording of a conversation between Khabib and his colleague, heavyweight fighter Magomed Ismailov, appeared on Twitter, in which he was asked if there was a fight he regretted not doing.
In fact, is there a fight he thinks would stop all doubts about who he is and how good he is? The answer was not really surprising, since it was a fight that had been planned for years and even contracted and canceled five times.
"I think it would be Tony Ferguson, but I have to admit that I personally never considered him an elite lightweight fighter. He was very good, but I didn't consider him that way because it's impossible to be an elite at 37."
"No one has done that before, I wouldn't succeed either. At the age of 37 in the lightweight category, there is no chance, heavyweights can do that, "said Khabib.
Khabib on Tony's fights
He then went on to further explain why he thinks so and why he believes their fight with each other made sense only at a time when Tony was within the winning streak.
"It's my opinion that you can't change. Besides, he's been fighting Kevin Lee, Edson Barboza, Anthony Pettis, and Donald Cerrone since 2016. These are fighters who have had 20 defeats together over these four years."
"The fact is that since 2016 he didn't fight good fighter. Then came the fights against Gaethje and Oliveira, and what happened? They downgraded him, you saw it. Both fighters dominated against Tony. I dreamed of that fight, but it wasn't meant for us.
", he concluded. Khabib has been in martial arts retirement since October 2020, but the UFC still believes they can persuade him to return and for that reason, his championship title has not yet been revoked. However, most believe that Nurmagomedov will not return and that he will keep his promise and stick to the decision that he has finished his career.