Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Georges St-Pierre is a fight that has gotten a lot of conversation, but if you were to ask the average mixed martial arts (MMA) fan if he/she thought it was going to actually happen, most would say they don’t expect it to. It goes past the pesky fact that “Rush” is retired and into a whole bunch of murky fight politics that boil down to Dana White holding a grudge against the Canadian superstar over how things played out when he fought for the Middleweight title.
After White begrudgingly agreed to facilitate a fight between St-Pierre and then-champ Michael Bisping, Georges revealed he had an eye injury that would keep the match from happening for several more months, right when the 185-pound division was in the middle of a contender logjam.
Then shortly after St-Pierre took the belt off Bisping, he relinquished it without a defense, something he promised White he wouldn’t do. The fact that Georges was suffering from colitis as a result of attempting to bulk up to 185 pounds didn’t assuage White’s feelings of being screwed over at all. So when talk of St-Pierre fighting anyone in UFC comes up, White tends to smack it down with little consideration.
Love him or hate him, if there’s one power broker in the MMA world that could make GSP vs. Khabib happen, it’s Nurmagomedov’s manager Ali Abdelaziz. Ali recently spoke to ESPN and sounded confident he could put the bout together despite the rift between White and St-Pierre.
“You don’t think I can make this fight?” Ali asked ESPN’s Brett Okamoto (transcript via the South China Morning Post). “In 2017, Georges St-Pierre wanted to fight Michael Bisping for the Middleweight title. Dana White didn’t believe him, and I got involved as a friend. I had to convince [UFC matchmaker] Sean Shelby to convince Dana to meet Georges. Georges flew to Las Vegas. I didn’t manage him, I was helping him as a friend. He had dinner with me, Sean Shelby and Dana.”
“Dana was like, ‘This guy don’t wanna fight’, but then 30 minutes into the conversation, Georges went to the bathroom. Dana said, ‘He’s out of his mind, he’s crazy’. Georges is out of his mind, he’s a little bit nutty. Georges started getting up, shouting, walking around the table and just got very emotional. He always have a chip on his shoulder, it’s real. Dana see the reality.”
It’s interesting that Ali sides with White that GSP hasn’t been the easiest to deal with. But that wouldn’t stop Abdelaziz from smoothing over any differences.
“If Georges wants this fight to really happen, he has to do three things,” Ali continued. “Pick up the phone and call me, he can call Dana directly. Dana White respects Georges St-Pierre, he likes him a lot. Dana White doesn’t like too many people. Then he have to make 155 pounds, and he have to communicate. He have a good team, but he always can call me. Everybody can ask what happened in 2017. I communicate people, that’s it. But all the time talk about Georges wanna fight this guy – hey, send a location, like Khabib said. Send a phone number, we can make it happen.”