Georges St-Pierre vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov is the kind of dream fight you’d think any promoter would give their left nut to make happen. But earlier this year in February, St-Pierre announced his retirement from the sport of mixed martial arts after the UFC refused to even consider the match.
It seems crazy to us that this fight won’t happen on account of fight politics, but that’s where we’re at now. But there’s still a small chance. Nurmagomedov continues to press for the fight and ensured there was some sort of ‘GSP clause’ in his new contract with the UFC. And St-Pierre continues to keep the idea alive in the press as well. Just a few days ago he appeared on TSN Radio during a Montreal Alouettes game (FYI, Americans: that’s a Canadian football team) to explain not only why Khabib interested him but how he’d beat the Dagestani powerhouse.
“If I want the legacy fight, Khabib is the man to beat right now,” St-Pierre said. “He’s the best fighter in the world right now to me. Undefeated and he hasn’t shown any kind of weakness. Nobody has ever come close to solving the puzzle, so that’s why it was very interesting for me.”
“I think there’s different areas of the fight that I’m better than him,” Georges added. “Even though he’s better than me in some stuff, I’m quicker in and out and controlling the distance and getting inside for the takedown faster in the open stance. He’s better near the fence, I’m better in the open. If I keep that fight in the open, I win.”
As for why the UFC seems so disinterested?
“Maybe they don’t want me to beat him because if I leave after that, I ruin their whole investment,” he said with a laugh.
There’s a bit more to it than that, although GSP’s reasoning certainly has a ring of truth to it. St-Pierre and UFC president Dana White have barely been able to do any business together since GSP dropped his welterweight title and took a break from the sport following a controversial decision win over Johny Hendricks in 2013. White wanted Georges to agree to an immediate rematch. Georges cited personal issues in his life and walked away instead.
A special negotiator had to be brought in to solve a contractual impasse for GSP’s return in 2017, and once again St-Pierre threw a wrench in White’s plans by wrangling a fight against Michael Bisping for the UFC middleweight title and then delaying that bout for six months. To add insult to injury in the UFC’s eye, he reneged on a promise to defend the belt after winning it, once again stepping away from the sport.
Since then White has repeatedly talked smack about GSP, saying he wasn’t interested in ‘one off money fights’ with the Canadian. Hopefully he just means he’s not interested right now, and in a year or so when Khabib solidifies his position with more wins over the backlog of lightweight champs we’ll see the two legends finally face off. Here’s hoping Nurmagomedov keeps winning, and that clause in his contract has some teeth.