Khabib Nurmagomedov may be retired from Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) competition, but the guy still has one foot firmly placed in the realm of mixed martial arts (MMA). He trains, coaches and regularly gives his thoughts on the state of the sport ... especially UFC’s lightweight division he used to rule over.
In an interview with Sport 24, Khabib shared his thoughts about new 155-pound roost ruler, Charles Oliveira, and it was very complimentary and respectful — until it wasn’t.
“He seems to have eight wins in a row,” Khabib said. “So many early finishes. As I remember, only against Tony Ferguson did he have a full fight. I think Oliveira is a very worthy champion. Many finishes, many records in the UFC. It would be a shame if Michael Chandler won. Two fights in the UFC and already a champion? That would somehow be wrong. And Charles Oliveira has progressed very much. This is a worthy champion. I’m glad for him.”
“But when Islam Makhachev rises in the rankings, Oliveira will no longer be champion,” Khabib continued. “The main thing is that Oliveira should understand my words correctly. I respect him, he is a worthy champion. But when Islam will go up, there will be another champion within the year. In my eyes it will be Dustin Poirier.”
So Khabib isn’t just pumping his boy Islam Makhachev, he’s saying by the time Makhachev is ready to fight for the title, Oliveira won’t even be holding it any more. That honor will go to Dustin Poirier, which means (and this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone) he thinks Poirier wins the rubber match against Conor McGregor at UFC 264 on July 10, 2021.
What do you think, Maniacs? Agree with Khabib’s predictions or is Nurmagomedov just playing favorites and trashing McGregor?