Not so long ago, Khabib Nurmagomedov was named the best UFC fighter, regardless of weight categories. However, today many disagree that this fighter is considered the best in history. Experts of Meta.reviews tried to figure out whether Khabib is so great.
The question of whether Khabib Nurmagomedov is the greatest champion and the best fighter of all times and peoples has been raised for a long time. Many UFC fighters questioned the epithets with which Khabib was awarded by various functionaries in the world of mixed martial arts. Even Dana White, the head of the UFC, admitted that the Dagestani athlete is, in his opinion, the best fighter at the moment, but not the best in history (he considers such a light heavyweight John Jones, who won 26 wins in 28 fights but was caught using doping).
Of course, Khabib is very popular in the Muslim world and millions of people watch his fights. But is this an indicator of the greatness of a fighter? First of all, you need to turn to facts and statistics to figure out whether the Dagestani is such an outstanding athlete.
Why Khabib cannot be considered the greatest fighter of all time
1. Khabib is a very one-sided fighter
It is worth recognizing that he has no equal in the fight and he won very confident victories. However, we are talking about mixed martial arts, which includes both standing and fighting on the ground. Khabib fights badly in a standing position and therefore tries to lay down his opponent as soon as possible and defeat him with wrestling techniques. Such fighters as Donald Cerrone, Alex Hernandez, Dillon Danis, Nick Diaz have repeatedly spoken about the monotony of Nurmagomedov’s fighting style. Khabib performs effectively, but boring and predictable. He simply drops the opponent and wipes the ring with him, without taking any damage.
2. Khabib’s rivals
Which of Khabib’s rivals can be called great, iconic fighters? MacGregor? A dubious fighter, albeit a very promoted one, who also went into battle with a leg injury. Gaethje? A good fighter with a great future, but has only been in the UFC for three years and has not shown very consistent results. By the way, both of these fighters are not in the top ten UFC rankings. What about Iaquinta? Few people know about him.
The conclusion suggests itself. If you study the history of Khabib’s performances, it becomes clear that he never had serious, significant rivals. 16 victories were won outside the UFC, and of the 13 promotions, 9 or 10 were fought with the average. The same cannot be said about the same John Jones or Stipe Miocic, who fought the best.
3. He is not lightweight
In one of his interviews, Khabib stated that his usual weight is about 85 kg. This means that in fact, Khabib should be in welterweight and middleweight. He fought in a lightweight, constantly subjecting himself to exhausting dry fasting before battles. With the help of various tricks, Khabib managed to throw off up to 15 kg of weight before the next fight.
As we know, weigh-in is carried out a day before the fight. After that, the fighter has 24 hours to rapidly gain near-normal weight. It is quite possible to gain 7 or 10 kg per day.
How does the weighting process take place? Primarily due to the removal of water from the body, including through the pores. For this, athletes actively work in the gym, cover themselves with warm blankets and do their best to sweat as much as possible. But, as soon as a person starts drinking, the dehydrated body rapidly fills the tissues and cells of the body with water. It is interesting that, according to official data, the main reason for one of the cancellations of the fight between Khabib and Tony Ferguson was the Dagestani’s kidney problems. But it is this organ that first of all suffers from dehydration.
All this means that Khabib always entered the ring with opponents who were 5 or 10 kg lighter than him, which plays a significant role for lightweights. And if we consider that Nurmagomedov spends most of the fight on the ground, then the difference in weight becomes catastrophic for the Dagestani’s rivals.
The question arises, if Khabib was able to lose weight and win the title in the lightweight category, then why not move to a higher category? It would seem that the welterweight fighter could feel more comfortable, he would not have to harm his health by constant weight races. And it will be easier to find worthy rivals.
The same outrageous McGregor, being a pure lightweight, was not afraid to spoil the statistics, gained weight and fought in the welterweight category. Why didn’t Khabib dare to change the category? Perhaps he is not confident enough in himself (you can read about self-confidence and mental health on Centreforum.org). But does the fear of losing match the title of the greatest fighter of all time?
Some professionals believe that fear was the main reason that Khabib ended his career. At the last weigh-in, it was difficult for him to show the desired weight, the athlete even had to take off his underpants to become a few grams lighter. By the age of 32, it became difficult for a Dagestani to drive and gain weight over and over again. Nurmagomedov understood this but still preferred to leave the battles, rather than rise to the welterweight category.
4. Only two title defences
Why is it worth paying attention to? It is the defence of the title that is an indicator of how long a champion can stay at the top of sports Olympus. For example, Fedor Emelianenko defended the title more than 10 times, Miocic – 4, Jonah Jones – 8. And Khabib has only two defences. Although he spends one or two fights a year (Nurmagomedov was often blamed for this too because this kind of procrastination slows down the UFC).
And the defences were not the most outstanding. Khabib spent the first against Conor McGregor, who had not entered the octagon for two years before. And the second defence was against Dustin Poirier, who got his title shot thanks to the mental problems of legitimate challenger Tony Ferguson and a victory over featherweight Max Holloway.
Based on these data, we can conclude that the greatness of Khabib is greatly exaggerated. Of course, he is an excellent fighter and no one disputes his titles and talent. However, he can hardly be considered the best in history, because many in the UFC have won belts in several weight categories and have repeatedly defended heavyweight championship titles. It would be unfair to ignore the merits of these people and put Khabib above them.
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