UFC: Khabib Talks Usman vs St-Pierre And Yan vs Sterling
Khabib Nurmagomedov has given his thoughts on the hypothetical matchup between the reigning UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and former two-division kingpin, Georges St-Pierre.
GSP has been linked to both Khabib and Usman in recent times, with ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ calling him out on a number of occasions since defending his title against Gilbert Burns at UFC 258. Unfortunately for the current champion however, St-Pierre says he isn’t interested in the fight.
Kamaru Usman vs Georges St-Pierre
Speaking to UFC Russia (as transcribed by BJPenn.com), Khabib said that Usman would have the edge if he fought St-Pierre today, but believes that if they fought in GSP’s prime, it would have been a different story.
“Right now, I think it is Usman because it is his prime time,” Khabib said. “What was the prime time of GSP? I believe it was 2009-2010. I think it would have been tough for Usman to fight with him back then. I think St-Pierre was the best at that time. So 2021 and 2010 are different times and a different level of competition. It’d be wrong to compare it. It is like to think who’d win: Mike Tyson or Muhammad Ali? No one knows and no one will ever know.”
Usman is currently ranked number two in the UFC pound-for-pound rankings behind Jon Jones, but in St-Pierre’s book, he’s deserving of the number one spot.
“I think Usman, right now, is the best pound-for-pound,” St-Pierre told The Bleacher Report’s Tom Taylor. “In terms of performance, I think he’s one of the best right now and he’s an active competitor.”
Petr Yan vs Aljamain Sterling Controversy
The UFC 259 bantamweight title fight between champion Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling ended in a controversy after the Russian was disqualified for an illegal knee to the head of his downed opponent. ‘The Funk Master’ was unable to continue and was awarded the win, as a result.
Despite winning the title, Sterling received a backlash from many fans who accused him of playacting in order to get his hand raised. Discussing the controversial fight, Khabib said that he wouldn’t want to win the belt under such circumstances.
“Well, I would not prefer to become a champion the way Sterling did,” Khabib said (as transcribed by MMA News). “I think he understands it, and his people do, but they try to support him, and I understand them. I would not like to be the champion who almost lost and won his belt just because his opponent broke the rules. I don’t want to judge anyone, but I would not [want] things to be this way.”
While Khabib acknowledges that Yan only has himself to blame for how things played out at UFC 259, he’s backing his fellow Russian to turn the negative experience into a positive one and go on to reclaim the title.
“Speaking about Yan, yes, he made a huge mistake,” Khabib said. “It cost him the belt. Anyway, if Petr properly does his homework, he will benefit a lot from this. First of all, he needs to continue his training process and to stay hungry and focused. I think he will be given a fight this year, or even a rematch, and he deserves it. Anyways, I think he needs it, and it will help him a lot. I hope he finds a way to use it for his own advantage. We will see it when he gets a rematch and will take the belt. I think that’s the way it should be. Just like in a good Turkish TV show, there is always a happy end.”
UFC president Dana White has stated that Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan will run it back once the champion recovers from neck surgery. There is no news as to when this could be yet, however.
Do you agree with Khabib Nurmagomedov’s assessment of a potential Kamaru Usman vs Georges St-Pierre matchup?