Khabib Opens Up On Fighting GSP, McGregor, Ferguson And Mayweather
Following the heartbreaking death of his father Abdulmanap, UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has spoken publicly for the first time.
Continuing His Career
Speaking with MMA Global in Russia (transcribed by MMA Junkie), the Dagestan native stated that he was able to shift his focus to MMA in order to keep busy. While preparing for his next fight at UFC 254 in October, Khabib admitted that it’s an opportunity to continue with his career, as well as stay distracted from his recent hardships.
“I had different thoughts about retirement, but I already have a fight,” Khabib explained. “I’m 32 years old soon, I’m already a veteran of this sport. I have been in the UFC for more than eight years. Now I want to fight [and] be busy with something. The regime helps me get distracted.”
Khabib is already booked to face off against the interim champion Justin Gaethje, in a title unification bout at UFC 254 on October 24th. However, that has not stopped him from looking ahead at a possible super fight with Georges St-Pierre. A bout his father greatly cared about greatly and wanted for him as well.
Superfight with GSP
“This is a fight between my dreams and my father,” he stated. “Time is ticking, St-Pierre is 40 years old next year, he has to decide whether we will fight or not.”
Given the accolades of both men, Khabib being undefeated and St- Pierre a former double UFC champion in the welterweight and middleweight divisions. A fight between the Russian and GSP is arguably the most lucrative fight the promotion could make at this point. Surpassing a potential rematch with Conor McGregor, or a final long awaited showdown with rival Tony Ferguson.
“If [St-Pierre] comes back to the UFC and agrees to fight me, I’m fighting him,” Khabib stated. “Why? Because the last time he lost was 2007. My career started in 2008. Together we’ve been undefeated for 25 years. I’m talking in terms of time, not fights. I don’t think the UFC will get another chance to make a fight like that, definitely not in the next ten years. So, Georges St-Pierre is next. If not, then let Conor beat [Dustin] Poirier or have Tony beat him, then I’ll fight them.”
The 28-0 lightweight would go on to say that the UFC brass is now more willing to make the fight happen between the two, providing he gets past arguably his toughest challenge yet, in Gaethje.
“If I beat Gaethje, then in April I could fight St-Pierre,” he said. “[The UFC] told me that they will negotiate with St-Pierre.”
While the unbeaten champion prepares for his next defence, Khabib admitted the heaviness of his father’s absence has taken a toll.
“This, of course, bothers me, I think about him,” he explained. “Maybe these feelings will take me to a new level [and] make me stronger.”
Khabib would go on to say that although there is still a lot of interest from Floyd Mayweather as another possible opponent, he values his contract and relationship with the UFC too much to violate it for a boxing match with the undefeated boxer.
“I am still offered a fight with Mayweather, despite the contract with the UFC,” he admitted. “They are even ready to pay all the penalties, because the UFC will have to sue. … But I have a contract with the UFC, and this is more important than money.”
Who would you like to see Khabib Nurmagomedov fight before he retires?